When it comes to clean energy vehicles, I also think hydrogen is the future. Unfortunately, though, hydrogen production is not the cleanest process either. Sure, it can be produced in a clean way but it’s going to be a slow process. But as a boon, we at least will not have to deal with used batteries which is a real issue in China.
The two main hydrogen-powered options are hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen combustion engines. In the case of hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen goes through a chemical process that produces electricity to drive an electric motor. The hydrogen combustion engines, on the other hand, replace fossil fuel with hydrogen which is what JCB has adopted and it is also a tech that Toyota is working on.
As said, the production of hydrogen is not the cleanest solution, neither is the transportation of the fuel but it is the best there is for powering equipment with high power demands, and for machines that are deployed in remote locations. Using batteries would have weighed too much, it takes a long time to charge and cost a lot more. So the natural and most immediate solution is the hydrogen combustion engine.
The engineers at JCB Power Systems in Derbyshire, UK, have achieved a groundbreaking milestone by creating the industry’s first hydrogen motor. Leveraging existing engine technology and easily accessible components, they’ve enabled hydrogen combustion to generate power akin to a diesel engine.
Remarkably, their prototype backhoe loader, equipped with this innovative hydrogen motor, matches the performance of its diesel counterpart said JCB.
Notably, this technology is simpler than hydrogen fuel-cell systems, emitting only steam from the tailpipe and producing zero CO2 during operation.
Back in February this year, JCB revealed the world’s first hydrogen-powered digger in the UK. As mentioned, it is an applaudable move but the production of hydrogen isn’t the cleanest either.
It is worth noting that the idea of the hydrogen combustion engine isn’t new. Toyota is working on this tech and at least one other automaker has proposed the idea of a Hydrogen combustion engine.