JCB is investing £100 million on a project to produce efficient hydrogen engines. A team of 100 engineers is already working on the development with the recruitment of up to 50 more engineers under way as the firm targets the end of 2022 for the first machines to be available for sale to customers.
The wraps have already come off a prototype hydrogen powered JCB backhoe loader and a second JCB machine, a Loadall telescopic handler, has now been unveiled.
JCB’s focus on zero-emission hydrogen technology comes as governments around the world unveil strategies to develop the infrastructure needed to support the use of hydrogen to drive down CO2 emissions.
JCB chairman Lord Bamford said: “Our sort of machinery will need to be powered by something other than fossil fuels. We make machines which are powered by diesel so we have to find a solution and we are doing something about it now. We are investing in hydrogen as we don’t see electric being the all-round solution, particularly not for our industry because it can only be used to power smaller machines. It does mean we will carry on making engines, but they will be efficient, affordable, high-tech hydrogen motors with zero CO2 emissions, which can be brought to market quickly using our existing supply base. These will be our industry’s first hydrogen engines, developed in Great Britain by British engineers. Hydrogen motors have the potential to help the UK reach CO2 emissions targets more quickly.”