UK Government Approves The Use Of World’s First Hydrogen Powered Digger !

Credit: Ralph (Ravi) Kayden/ unsplash

The world’s first digger, powered by a hydrogen combustion engine, will soon be on UK roads and building sites following recent government approval, helping to decarbonise the UK’s construction industry. The UK government has given special dispensation, under a vehicle special order, that allows JCB, the British construction equipment manufacturer, to test and use its world-first hydrogen-powered backhoe loader on UK roads.

First Of Its Kind

The vehicle special order given by the Transport Secretary allows JCB to test its new hydrogen-powered machine on the public highway. This backhoe loader is the first of its kind and offers a pioneering solution to help reduce emissions on construction sites.

With 25% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions coming from the built environment, it’s vital the entire construction industry looks to decarbonise at every stage. Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman 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.

Road To Decarbonization 

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “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.”

Minister Norman will visit JCB’s headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire, where he’ll see the digger take to the road near the factory where it was manufactured. He’ll also inspect one of JCB’s hydrogen combustion engines, which are the product of a £100 million investment project by JCB to build on their innovative British engineering and develop new lower emission powertrains. Hydrogen is just one of the many ways that the UK government is looking to accelerate decarbonisation. 

As hydrogen technologies develop here in the UK, it’s vital this knowledge helps shape the next generation of apprentices. During this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (6 to 12 February 2023), hydrogen continues to be a source of opportunity for new skills and jobs to be developed.

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Source: UKgov


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