Hailed as a world first and a breakthrough in zero-emissions technology, JCB has developed the construction industry’s first-ever hydrogen-powered excavator. The 22-ton 220X excavator, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, has been undergoing testing for more than 12 months at JCB’s quarry proving grounds.

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.

“The development of the first hydrogen-fueled excavator is very exciting as we strive toward a zero-carbon world,” said Anthony Bamford, JCB chairman. “In the coming months JCB will continue to develop and refine this technology with advanced testing of our prototype machine. We will continue to be at the forefront of technologies designed to build a zero-carbon future.”

His son Jo Bamford spent 14 years at JCB before moving into the hydrogen sector. He created Ryse Hydrogen and then bought Northern Ireland bus giant Wrightbus. He has won contracts to supply the world’s first hydrogen double-decker buses to cities such as London and Aberdeen. The development comes after JCB made manufacturing history this past year by going 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.

JCB has also been working on clean-diesel technology. According to the company it has almost eradicated the most harmful emissions from its latest range of diesel engines. Nitrous oxide has decreased 97 percent, soot particulates have decreased 98 percent and carbon-dioxide emissions have decreased by almost half.

Visit www.jcb.com for more information.

With 16 years experience behind him, award-winning agricultural journalist Chris McCullough is always on the hunt for his next story. He grew up on the family dairy farm in the heart of Northern Ireland and is based on the country’s east coast. He travels around the world to bring readers international news.