JCB spends £100m on hydrogen engine project

The company has announced that JCB is spending £100m on a project to produce “ultra-efficient hydrogen engines”.

The Uttoxeter-based excavator manufacturer is targeting the end of next year to have the first machines available for sale to customers.

One hundred engineers have been working on the development and up to 50 more are being recruited.

Chairman Lord Bamford said such machinery should not run on fossil fuels.

The winding was taken off a prototype JCB hydrogen-powered backhoe loader and a second JCB machine, the Loadall telescopic loader, was unveiled at an event in London attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

Lord Bamford said: “We make diesel-powered machines so we have to find a solution and we are doing something about it now.

“We are investing in hydrogen because we don’t see that electricity is a universal solution, especially for our industry, because it can only be used to power small machines.”

He said the company would continue to produce engines, but they would be “ultra-efficient” with zero CO2 emissions.

JCB has been making engines since 2004, producing them at plants in Derbyshire and Delhi, India.