Plant manufacturer JCB is investing £100m to develop hydrogen engines.
The company already has a team of 100 engineers working on the project, with 50 more expected to be recruited, as JCB targets the end of 2022 for the first machines to be on sale to customers.
JCB has already produced a prototype hydrogen-powered JCB backhoe loader and a second JCB machine – a Loadall telescopic handler – has been unveiled at central London event attended by prime minister Boris Johnson.
JCB’s hydrogen technology will be next on show in the Green Zone at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow (31 October-12 November).
JCB chairman Lord Bamford said: “Our sort of machinery will need to be powered by something other than fossil fuels. We make machines which are powered by diesel so we have to find a solution and we are doing something about it now.
“We are investing in hydrogen as we don’t see electric being the all-round solution, particularly not for our industry because it can only be used to power smaller machines. It does mean we will carry on making engines, but they will be super-efficient, affordable, high-tech hydrogen motors with zero CO2 emissions, which can be brought to market quickly using our existing supply base.
“These will be our industry’s first hydrogen engines, developed in Great Britain by British engineers. Hydrogen motors have the potential to help the UK reach CO2 emissions targets more quickly.”