Brexit Britain win as JCB signs ‘landmark’ deal worth billions in ‘major advance’

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The construction equipment manufacturer hailed the “first-of-a-kind partnership” with Australian firm Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). According to the deal, JCB will import 10 percent of the green hydrogen produced by FFI for distribution in the UK alongside Ryze Hydrogen (Ryze). The deal will allow JCB to become the UK’s biggest distributor of the eco-friendly fuel.

The company announced the deal on Sunday as the world convened in Glasgow for the opening of the United Nations’ 26th Climate Change Summit (COP26).

Hydrogen is widely touted as an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels as it does not produce planet-warming greenhouse gasses when burned.

Hydrogen is also the most abundant element in the universe as it is only comprised of a single electron and single proton – though heavier isotopes exist.

It is estimated about 90 percent of all atoms in the universe are hydrogen and the gas can be created through the electrolysis of water.

The power-hungry process involves running an electric current through water (H2O) to separate its atoms of hydrogen and oxygen.

Although the process consumes large amounts of electricity, it can be done entirely using renewables like solar and wind power.

Hydrogen that is produced entirely using renewable energy is called green hydrogen.

FFI expects its green hydrogen production will grow to some 15 million tonnes per year by 2030, before growing to 50 million tonnes per year in the following decade.

FFI Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said, “This landmark, first of its kind partnership will help the UK to achieve Net Zero, particularly in the hard to electrify sectors.

“Our agreement signals the first major shift in the global commercial landscape from fossil fuels towards the real, practical, implementable solution that is green hydrogen.

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“We are delighted to announce this groundbreaking initiative at the critical climate forum of COP26.

“The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with replacing fossil fuel with only two million tonnes of green hydrogen is the equivalent of taking over eight million cars off the road – almost a quarter of the UK’s entire fleet.”

The deal was welcomed by JCB Chairman Lord Bamford, who said it marks an “important step towards” getting green hydrogen to the British public.

He said: “It’s fine having an engine powered by green hydrogen, but no good if customers can’t get green hydrogen to fuel their machines.

“This is a major advance on the road towards making green hydrogen a viable solution.”

Joseph Bamford, the founder of Ryze and owner of Wrightbus, added: “This is a monumental deal, not just for us but for the UK as a whole.

“We have chosen to partner with the global leaders in green hydrogen and it is fabulous that two countries, the UK and Australia, can come together to create a brighter future.

“We are walking the walk on green hydrogen and now we want the Government to show its commitment to the sector by investing in buses, trains, trucks, ships, aircraft and the entire green hydrogen supply chain.”

Earlier this month JCB announced a £100million investment in super-efficient hydrogen engines.

The company has rallied a team of 100 engineers, with 50 more on the way, targetting the end of 2022 to hit market shelves.

With the announcement, JCB unveiled a prototype hydrogen-powered backhoe loader at an event attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson hailed the company’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

He said: “Great British manufacturers like JCB are developing innovative solutions to slash greenhouse emissions and advance the UK’s green industrial revolution.”

The UK has set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, with 78 percent of emissions slashed by 2035.

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