Home » World’s first hydrogen-powered digger takes to UK roads

World’s first hydrogen-powered digger takes to UK roads

by Sion Geschwindt
The world's first digger powered by a hydrogen combustion engine will soon take to UK roads and building sites.

The world’s first digger powered by a hydrogen combustion engine will soon take to UK roads and building sites

The world’s first hydrogen-powered digger, developed by JCB, will soon hit UK roads and building sites following recent government approval.

The UK government has given special dispensation, under a vehicle special order, that allows JCB to test and use its hydrogen-powered backhoe loader on UK roads.

JCB’s hydrogen combustion engines are the product of a £100m investment project by the industrial giant, which has also created 150 new jobs in the Midlands under the company’s hydrogen project.

Jesse Norman, technology and decarbonisation minister, said: “From cars to construction sites, industry has a vital role in decarbonising our economy and creating green jobs and prosperity.

“JCB’s investment in greener equipment is a great example of how industry can make this happen, using alternative fuels to generate sustainable economic growth.

“JCB’s prototype hydrogen-powered backhoe loader is an important first step in the construction industry’s efforts to decarbonise in what is a ‘hard to decarbonise’ sector. Hydrogen combustion machines can play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions in settings where other types of clean power may not be the most practical or efficient.”

Chairman Lord Bamford, added: “Securing this vehicle special order from the Department for Transport is an important first step in getting JCB machines that are powered by hydrogen combustion engines to and from British building sites using the public highway. It’s an endorsement that JCB is on the right path in pursuit of its net zero ambitions.

“JCB’s hydrogen-powered backhoe loader is a world first in our industry, a digger with a purpose-engineered internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen gas as the energy source. It’s a real breakthrough – a zero CO2 fuel providing the power to drive the pistons in an internal combustion engine, a technology that’s been around for over 100 years, a technology that we are all familiar with.”

Read next: Kier Highways mulls hydrogen adoption

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