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Energy Secretary inspired by JCB's hydrogen engine innovation

The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho MP, paid a visit to JCB to see for herself the progress being made by the British manufacturer of construction equipment and agricultural machinery on decarbonisation using hydrogen combustion engine technology.

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Energy Secretary inspired by JCB's hydrogen engine innovation

The Energy Secretary’s visit started at JCB Power Systems, Derbyshire, where a team of more than 150 engineers are actively engaged in developing hi-tech hydrogen combustion engines for use in JCB machinery. More than 120 engines have been produced so far and many machines powered by these super-efficient engines are currently undergoing evaluation.

Ms Coutinho said: “It was terrific to visit JCB to see their pioneering hydrogen combustion engines powering a new generation of diggers. Countries around the world are queuing up to work with brilliant UK businesses, like JCB. It’s our great British tradition of innovation that is creating well-paid jobs across the country and helping us export our world-leading climate change tech. When it comes to Net Zero, I want Britain to reap the rewards and prosperity it can bring rather than punishing hard working families and businesses. It is incredibly inspiring to see the levels of innovation, dedication, and enthusiasm throughout JCB.”

Ms Coutinho met JCB Chairman Anthony Bamford who is personally spearheading JCB’s hydrogen developments. He explained to the Energy Secretary that JCB had already successfully launched a range of battery-electric compact machines, with more than 20,000 battery-electric machines already sold. He went on to highlight that battery-electric technology was largely unsuitable for heavier equipment due to the higher energy demands, and the longer working hours of such machinery in remote locations where access to grid connections is limited.

At JCB’s Staffordshire proving ground, the Energy Secretary was shown a hydrogen-powered JCB Loadall telescopic handler at work. After sitting in the cab of a hydrogen-powered JCB backhoe loader, she tried her hand at the quick and easy task of refuelling the machine with hydrogen, which took only a matter of minutes thanks to a purpose-designed mobile refuelling bowser. Ms Coutinho added: “JCB hydrogen combustion engine technology is cutting edge, and it’s going to help Britain stay at the front of the race when it comes to climate change.” It was terrific to visit JCB to see their pioneering hydrogen combustion engines powering a new generation of diggers. Countries around the world are queuing up to work with brilliant UK businesses, like JCB. It’s our great British tradition of innovation that is creating well-paid jobs across the country and helping us export our world-leading climate change tech.

Claire Coutinho MP | The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
Lord Bamford said: “It was a pleasure for the JCB team to show the Secretary of State the wonderful progress that JCB’s British engineers are making in developing a zero-carbon solution to power our machines of the future. They will need to be powered by something other than fossil fuels and super-efficient, affordable, high-tech hydrogen combustion engines with zero emissions can be answer for the construction industry and agriculture. What’s more, they can be brought to market quickly using our existing supply base.”

JCB’s emergence as a leader in zero-emission hydrogen technology comes as governments around the world continue to unveil strategies to develop the infrastructure needed to support the use of hydrogen to drive down CO2 emissions. JCB has manufactured engines since 2004, producing around 200 per day at its UK plant in Derbyshire and 200 per day at its plant in Delhi, India.

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