THE construction industry’s first hydrogen-powered, 20-tonne excavator is now a reality - thanks to UK firm JCB.
Engineers at the company’s quarrying proving ground in Derbyshire have been carying out trials on the 20-tonne 220X excavator, which is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The development means JCB is the first construction equipment company in the world to unveil a working prototype of an excavator powered by hydrogen.
And it can do everything its diesel-powered equivalent can do.
JCB chairman Lord Anthony Bamford believes hydrogen is the best alternative to diesel for powering heavy-duty machinery and HGVs.
Batteries, he said, simply weigh too much, cost too much and there is not enough time to charge them, even if on-site charging infrastructure was in place.
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.
“I have never been content with the status quo,” he said. “Just because things have been done in a certain way for years is no reason not to do things differently. Successful businesses need to be reinventing themselves all of the time.”
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