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JCB Introduces Hydrogen-Powered Engine
JCB is introducing its first zero-carbon emissions hydrogen engine at the March Conexpo 2023 show in Las Vegas, Nev. The company believes hydrogen is a practical solution for powering a good share of the companyís construction and ag equipment in the decades to come.
JCBís hydrogen engine isnít much different from any other four-cycle internal combustion engine because it has many common parts. With essentially the same horsepower and torque as its gasoline and diesel counterparts, the new hydrogen model can be used in smaller construction and farm equipment. The hydrogen engineís air/fuel mixture requires twice the volume of air, so turbocharging is essential. Spark timing is critical, and the fuel tank is robust.
The JCB hydrogen engine is designed for longevity like a diesel and should cost about the same to manufacture and operate. One gallon of diesel has about the same energy as one kg of hydrogen, and it takes three gallons of water and 55 kW of electricity to make the hydrogen. At 8 to 10 cents a kWh, fuel costs would be comparable to diesel. Savings would come from using renewable sources of electricity.
Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) see a future where the electricity from solar or wind generators would make hydrogen from water which, in turn, could power industrial equipment, combines and tractors, dry grain, and even make fertilizer.
WSUís economic modeling uses a 2,800-acre dry crop farm as an example. The farm would require about 8,000 to 12,000 kg of H2 to run equipment and about 14,000 kg to make nitrogen fertilizer. A solar array covering an acre could make enough electricity to meet or exceed that need.
Without shareholders and their expectation for rapid returns, family-owned JCB can take a longer view of how alternative energy sources are developed. JCB has invested $125 million along with 100 engineers working for more than a year to develop the hydrogen engine, which has been successfully field tested in a backhoe loader and a telescopic handler. The company has also developed a mobile hydrogen refueling unit that transports hydrogen to fields and construction sites.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, JCB Corporation (www.jcb.com/en-us/campaigns/hydrogen).


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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #2