Boris Johnson gives thumbs up to JCB’s hydrogen plans

OEM aims to have first hydrogen-powered construction equipment on the market in 2022

JCB chairman Lord Bamford, left, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the new hydrogen Loadall telehandler

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended a JCB event in London, at which the OEM showed for the first time a hydrogen-powered Loadall telescopic handler.

The machine is the second from JCB to feature a hydrogen engine, following the recent unveiling of a prototype backhoe loader.

JCB’s hydrogen programme currently employs around 100 engineers and the OEM says it will recruit up to 50 more, as it ramps up production, aiming to have the first hydrogen construction machines on the market by the end of 2022.

Lord Bamford said JCB does not see electric as the ‘all-round solution’

JCB chairman Lord Bamford said: “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.”

He added, “Hydrogen motors have the potential to help the UK reach CO2 emissions targets more quickly.”

Boris Johnson said, “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.”

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