Yesterday, the British construction equipment manufacturer JCB unveiled its new backhoe loader in India, featuring a hydrogen-based combustion engine specifically engineered for this purpose. The launch was graced by India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, who highlighted the technology’s capability to deliver the same power, torque, and efficiency as traditional engines but without any tailpipe emissions.
JCB’s commitment to hydrogen technology is evident in its £100 million initiative dedicated to producing hydrogen engines. A team of 150 engineers is actively involved in developing these engines, with over 75 prototypes already created at JCB’s engine plant in the UK.
India, being JCB’s largest market outside Europe, plays a significant role in the company’s growth. Deepak Shetty, CEO and MD of JCB India, expressed optimism about the company’s prospects, anticipating a doubling of business in the next five years due to current infrastructure projects initiated by the government.
In line with these developments, the Indian government earlier announced the Green Hydrogen Mission, allocating Rs 19,744 crore from FY24 to FY30. This initiative aims to establish a domestic green hydrogen production capacity of up to 5 MMT annually by 2030, thereby reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Minister Gadkari emphasized the potential of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source, particularly in reducing carbon emissions in the road construction sector. He remarked on the ecological and environmental benefits that this transition could bring.
Echoing this sentiment, JCB India’s CEO Shetty expressed confidence in the rapid adoption of hydrogen in India, anticipating a quicker shift from diesel to hydrogen than expected. He assured that JCB India is well-prepared for this transition.
Additionally, JCB UK has also introduced a mobile refuelling bowser, designed and built in-house, to facilitate the refuelling of these hydrogen-powered machines.