JCB reveals zero-emissions excavator in same week as Prime Minister hints in PMQs that the government intends to 'invest massively' in hydrogen
JCB has developed a hydrogen-fuelled digger that allows operators to excavate while generating zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The construction equipment manufacturer revealed the model yesterday, hailing the 20-tonne machine as the world's first hydrogen-powered excavator.
The 220X prototype underwent "rigorous testing" for 12 months at the JCB's quarry proving grounds, the company said. The use of fuel cell technology to power the digger means the only emissions released by the machine's exhaust is water.
JCB chairman Lord Bamford applauded the achievement, noting that it was part of the firm's ongoing plans to develop technologies that support the transition to a net zero economy.
"The development of the first hydrogen-fuelled excavator is very exciting as we strive towards a zero carbon world," he said. "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 is a major player in the UK's emerging hydrogen industry. He founded green hydrogen production company Ryse Hydrogen in 2018 and last year acquired Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus as part of a plan to deliver a fleet of zero emission buses across the UK.
Commenting on the news of the new digger, Jo Bamford said: "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."
Over recent months, hydrogen has risen up the political agenda and reports have suggested the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will publish a hydrogen strategy before the summer recess.
Following months of signals from Ministers that the hydrogen sector will be a beneficiary of plans to reboot the nation's economy, the Prime Minister said in PMQs on Tuesday that the UK would "invest massively in hydrogen". He added that he was "a big fan of buses made in Ballymena" - a direct reference to Bamford's Wrightbus plant.
In June, a number of gas networks and energy companies - including Ryse, Siemens and National Grid - called on the government to boost the UK's hydrogen sector in its forthcoming economic recovery plans.
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