Hydrogen digger to hit UK building sites

The world’s first JCB digger powered by a hydrogen combustion engine will soon be on UK roads and building sites, it has been announced.

The news follows recent Government approval of the technology under its Vehicle Special Order rules – and means JCB can now test the backhoe loader on UK roads.

JCB’s prototype hydrogen-powered backhoe loader comes as the challenge of decarbonising the construction sector begins. Hydrogen combustion machines can play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions in settings where other types of clean power may not be the most practical or efficient, the firm said.

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman Norman has visited JCB’s headquarters where he inspected one of JCB’s hydrogen combustion engines – part of a £100 million investment project by the firm to build on their lower emission powertrains.

Norman said: “From cars to construction sites, industry has a vital role in decarbonising our economy and creating green jobs and prosperity. JCB’s investment in greener equipment is a great example of how industry can make this happen, using alternative fuels to generate sustainable economic growth.”

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “JCB’s hydrogen-powered backhoe loader is a world first in our industry, a digger with a purpose-engineered internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen gas as the energy source. It’s a real breakthrough – a zero CO2 fuel providing the power to drive the pistons in an internal combustion engine, a technology that’s been around for over 100 years, a technology that we are all familiar with.”

Image courtesy of JCB

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