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JCB develops hydrogen-powered excavator

2 July 2020

JCB has developed what it claims is construction’s first hydrogen-powered excavator.

The 20t 220X machine, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, has been undergoing testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for more than 12 months. The only emission from the exhaust is water.

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 Bamford 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.”

JCB recently went into full production with the construction industry’s first fully electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E and also makes an electric telescopic forklift, the JCB 30-19E. However, there was no indication that the manufacturer would enter production on a hydrogen-powered machine.

Rival manufacturer Hyundai announced plans to build hydrogen-powered excavators earlier this year.