JCB develops hydrogen fuelled excavator

JCB has developed the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator.

The 20-tonne 220X has been undergoing testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for more than a year.

Power for the prototype digger is generated by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell to create the energy needed to run electric motors. The only emission from the exhaust is water.

The development comes after JCB made history last year by going into full production with the sector’s first fully electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E.

JCB chairman Lord Bamford said, “The development of the first hydrogen fuelled excavator is very exciting as we strive towards a zero carbon world. In the coming months, JCB will continue to develop and refine this technology with advanced testing of our prototype machine and we will continue to be at the forefront of technologies designed to build a zero carbon future.”

Lord Bamford’s son Jo Bamford spent 14 years at JCB before moving into the hydrogen sector, setting up Ryse Hydrogen and then buying Northern Ireland bus giant Wrightbus. He has won contracts to supply the world’s first hydrogen double-decker to cities such as London and Aberdeen.

Jo added, “I truly believe hydrogen is the UK’s best opportunity to build a world-leading industry which creates UK jobs, cuts emissions and is the envy of the globe.”