The company has started proof of concept tests and is accelerating its efforts to begin commercial production of medium- and large-sized construction equipment powered by hydrogen fuel cells “in the near future.”
For the new concept machine, Komatsu collaborated with Toyota Motor Corporation in the adoption of a hydrogen fuel cell system and hydrogen tank to fit with the company's medium hydraulic excavator. Combining Toyota's fuel cell system with its control technology and components, Komatsu is hoping to achieve zero exhaust emission and a significant reduction in noise and vibration.
According to Komatsu, the excavator delivers the same performance, in terms of digging and operability as an engine-driven machine.
To date, electrification with batteries has been directed primarily toward compact equipment. Medium- and large-sized construction equipment requires a power source with higher energy.
JCB, Hyundai, Volvo and now Komatsu have been advancing hydrogen or hydrogen fuel cell technology as an alternative electrification option for larger machines because hydrogen has a higher energy density and can be refueled in a shorter time. The development of the machine lines up with Komatsu’s intent to achieve carbon neutrality at workplaces of construction equipment.
The equipment manufacturer has committed to minimizing environmental impact through its business, targeting a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from the use of its products and production of its equipment by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels) and a challenging target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
To help its customers achieve carbon neutrality, Komatsu has been advancing research and development on a variety of products, services, and solutions that reduce environmental impact, such as more hybrid diesel-electric hydraulic excavators and electric mini excavators.
At ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023, Komatsu showcased a variety of electrified machines that are on the verge of coming to market.