JCB chairman Lord Bamford pictured with the company's hydrogen-powered Loadall
JCB chairman Lord Bamford pictured with onne of the company’s hydrogen-powered Loadall protoypes.

JCB is investing £100 million in a project to produce super-efficient hydrogen engines, the company has announced.

A team of 100 engineers is already working on the development, with the recruitment of up to 50 more engineers under way as JCB targets the end of 2022 for the first machines to be available for sale to customers.

Two prototype hydrogen-powered machines – a JCB backhoe loader and a Loadall telescopic handler – were unveiled in London, ahead of the COP26 event at Glasgow where they’ll be on display.

JCB’s plans to be a leader in zero-emission hydrogen technology comes as governments around the world unveil strategies to develop the infrastructure needed to support the use of hydrogen to drive down CO2 emissions.

JCB says electric power isn't appropriate for the machines it makes, but the company will develop zero-emission hydrogen power instead
JCB says electric power isn’t appropriate for the machines it makes, but the company will develop zero-emission hydrogen power instead.

JCB chairman Lord Bamford said the company’s machinery will need to be powered by something other than fossil fuels.

“We make machines that are powered by diesel, so we have to find a solution and we’re doing something about it now,” he added. “We’re 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 means we’ll carry on making engines, but they’ll be super-efficient, affordable, high-tech hydrogen motors with zero CO2 emissions that can be brought to market quickly using our existing supply base.”

JCB has manufactured engines since 2004, producing them at plants in Derbyshire, England, and Delhi, India. JCB will celebrate the production of its 750,000th engine during 2021.

www.jcb.com