JCB signs agreement to import hydrogen from Australia to UK | JCB


Construction equipment maker JCB has signed a multibillion-pound deal to import and supply hydrogen produced from renewable energy.

As the Cop26 climate conference began in Glasgow, the company, famous for its bright yellow earthmoving equipment, announced a deal with Australian Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) that will allow it to start selling ‘green’ gas via a specialized division, Ryze Hydrogen, from the start of next year.

Hydrogen does not produce carbon dioxide when burned and therefore is seen as an alternative option for heavy industries as the world seeks to wean itself from burning fossil fuels.

It already powers buses across the world – including the UK – and could power trucks, trains and other energy-intensive vehicles, including airplanes – areas currently considered difficult to decarbonize . FFI’s green hydrogen is produced from 100% renewable sources, but still requires a significant amount of energy for its production.

JCB Chairman Anthony Bamford, whose Wrightbus company built the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus, said the deal was an important step towards delivering greener energy to business customers.

“It’s good to have an engine powered by green hydrogen, but it’s not good if customers can’t get green hydrogen to power their machines,” he said.

“This is a major step forward on the road to making green hydrogen a viable solution. We want the government to show its commitment to the sector by investing in buses, trains, trucks, ships, planes and the entire green hydrogen supply chain.

FFI Chairman Andrew Forrest said the deal will help the UK meet net zero targets, especially in areas that are hard to electrify.

“The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with replacing fossil fuels with just 2 million tonnes of green hydrogen is equivalent to taking more than 8 million cars off the road, or nearly a quarter of the total. of the UK fleet. “

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has previously said low carbon hydrogen has a critical role to play in the UK’s transition to net zero. Tests are underway to see if it can be used to heat homes across the country. This is an interesting option because a large part of the existing gas network can be used.

However, producing it using renewable electricity is less efficient than using that electricity as a direct energy source. In recent weeks, ministers have instead spoken of aerothermal heat pumps, suggesting that hydrogen could be better used in hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as transportation.

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