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Komatsu reveals hydraulic excavator concept powered by hydrogen fuel cell

Source: Komatsu

Japanese construction equipment company Komatsu has developed a concept machine for a medium-sized hydraulic excavator that combines a hydrogen fuel cell and Komatsu-developed key components to achieve carbon neutrality at workplaces of construction equipment. 

By advancing the Proof of Concept (PoC) tests it started in May 2023, the company claims to accelerate its efforts to embark on the commercial production of medium-sized and large construction equipment powered by hydrogen fuel cells in the near future. 

Komatsu is targeting a 50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from use of its products and production of its equipment by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), while achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. To help its customers achieve carbon neutrality, the company has already developed hybrid hydraulic excavators and electric mini excavators. Komatsu is also engaged in R&D to provide products equipped with new power sources.

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The manufacturer has adopted a hydrogen fuel cell system and hydrogen tank developed by Toyota on its latest excavator. With Komatsu's comprehensive control technology and Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell system, the product is being developed toward zero exhaust emissions and a significant reduction in noise and vibration, while ensuring optimum digging performance and high operability as ICE engine-driven excavators.

Komatsu claims that the medium-and large construction equipment requires a power source with higher energy density than that of small construction equipment, which has led the move to electrification with batteries. With hydrogen having higher energy density and shorter refueling time than recharging batteries, the fuel cell is considered as a promising electrification choice for these products. 

To contribute to realizing a hydrogen society and carbon neutrality, Komatsu has vowed to continue its efforts toward the commercial production of medium- and large construction machinery equipped with hydrogen fuel cells by conducting PoC tests of this new concept machine.

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