JCB develops construction’s first hydrogen-fuelled excavator

JCB has developed the construction industry’s first hydrogen-powered excavator as it continues to lead the sector on zero and low carbon technologies.

The 20t 220X excavator – powered by a hydrogen fuel cell – has been undergoing rigorous testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for over 12 months. The development means the firm is the first construction equipment company to unveil a working prototype of a hydrogen-powered excavator.

JCB chairman Lord Bamford described the development as “very exciting”.

He added: “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.”

Power for JCB’s prototype excavator 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.

Last year JCB went into full production with the construction industry’s first fully electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E. JCB has also extended electric technology to its innovative Teletruk telescopic forklift range with the launch of an electric model, the JCB 30-19E.

The firm has also been leading the way on clean diesel technology to meet Stage V EU emissions regulations and has almost eradicated the most harmful emissions from its latest range of diesel engines. Nitrous Oxide (NOx) is down 97%, soot particulates down by 98% and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions down by almost half.