JCB announces investment into hydrogen engines, unveils prototypes

Company to spend $137m to achieve target of offering hydrogen powered machines for sale by end-2022

JCB is targeting the end of 2022 to make its first hydrogen powered machines available for sale to customers and is investing $137.8m to produce the super-efficient engines, said the company at the unveiling of two prototypes in London today in an event attended by British PM Boris Johnson.

According to JCB, a team of 100 engineers is already working on the “exciting development” with the recruitment of up to 50 more engineers under way as the company targets for the first machines to be available to customers before the end of next year.

At the unveiling in London, the wraps came off a prototype hydrogen powered JCB backhoe loader and a second JCB machine – a Loadall telescopic handler. JCB is a global market leader for both machine categories.

JCB’s hydrogen technology will be next on show in the Green Zone at COP26 in Glasgow as world leaders debate measures to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions. JCB said its emergence as a leader in 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.

“Great British manufacturers like JCB are developing innovative solutions to slash greenhouse emissions and advance the UK’s green industrial revolution. It was fantastic to see JCB’s super-efficient hydrogen engines, which could overhaul UK manufacturing, help us to rapidly reach our climate targets and ramp up the UK’s hydrogen economy – an exciting area that will be essential to tackling climate change, creating new jobs and attracting investment,” said British PM Boris Johnson.

JCB chairman Lord Bamford added: “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 super-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.”

JCB has manufactured engines since 2004, producing them at plants in Derbyshire and in Delhi, India. The company said it is celebrating a major milestone this year: the production of its 750,000th engine.


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