“I'm often asked, why hydrogen? Two years ago, I set the challenge that we should be making hydrogen engines for the construction industry and for agriculture. Two years later, we have hydrogen engines working in the kind of equipment that JCB makes. A solution that delivers power in the same way as conventional engines, but with none of the fossil fuels. We're proving daily that hydrogen does work, that it's a clean, renewable, transportable fuel.”

Bold thinking, a lot of hard work, a lot of innovation - the kind of thing JCB has been delivering for over 75 years.”

Lord Bamford | JCB Chairman


Lord Bamford meets Harry Metcalfe to discuss the latest hydrogen combustion engine technology developments.

JCB was delighted to host Harry Metcalfe at JCB World Headquarters to discover more about our hydrogen combustion engine technology since his last visit two years ago. Watch Harry's video to find out more. 


How do you replace fossil fuels with a zero-carbon alternative that still allows heavy machines to do heavy work for up to 12 hours a day, every day?

Batteries are not practical for equipment with high power demands, and for machines that work in remote locations, such as backhoe loaders and large excavators. Batteries would weigh too much, cost too much and there would not be enough time to charge them, even if on-site charging infrastructure was in place.


Engineers at JCB Power Systems, our engine factory in Derbyshire, UK, have developed the first hydrogen motor in our industry. Using and adapting established engine technology with readily available components, hydrogen is combusted and power is delivered in exactly the same way as a diesel engine. And now, our prototype backhoe loader, fitted with this new hydrogen motor, can do everything its diesel-powered equivalent can do.

What’s more, the technology is far less complicated than hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Nothing but steam is emitted from the tailpipe. Zero CO2 at point of use.

Building the JCB hydrogen combustion engine


Now hydrogen begins to make a lot of sense. It’s the most abundant element in the universe for a start. On a practical level, a hydrogen motor uses similar technology to existing propulsion systems. It’s also robust, cost-effective and it could be integrated into all forms of powertrain. Most importantly, a familiar technology and lack of complexity make hydrogen an ideal zero-carbon solution for our customers, with demand being met by our existing, high quality manufacturing supply chain.

Hydrogen is a better way.


To support hydrogen equipment, JCB has developed a mobile hydrogen refuelling unit which allows for easy transportation of hydrogen on site.

JCB’s customers often take fuel to the machines, rather than machines to the fuel – this means a mobile refuelling solution is needed. JCB has developed a mobile hydrogen bowser for our own sites, which can be driven to the machine, allowing refuelling in a similar way to today.



I have never been content with the status quo. Just because things have been done in a certain way for years is no reason not to do things differently. Successful businesses need to be reinventing themselves all of the time; keeping ahead of events, keeping ahead of competitors, but most importantly, keeping customers happy.

That’s why everyone at JCB is challenged to be always looking for a better way. It’s our operating model – it ensures JCB does the right thing all of the time for the benefit of our customers and of course 

It’s what makes us stand out in our industry.

Lord Bamford | JCB Chairman

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