Electric or hydrogen?

12 June 2020

There are more and more questions from companies about sustainable working with excavators. One of the most frequently asked questions is about the main difference between electric and hydrogen. Because what is a sensible choice and how can you keep the differences side by side? We would like to help you with this by briefly explaining what the big difference is between an excavator that runs on batteries or on hydrogen.​

Operation
The funny thing is that both systems are almost equal to each other. It works as follows; A hydrogen-powered excavator works with an electric motor instead of a diesel engine that has a battery pack plus a special fuel cell. In the fuel cell, the hydrogen is converted into electricity with the help of oxygen from the air. This drives the excavator's electric motor so that it can get to work. In this process, water is released as a residual product.
 
battery packs
Basically, the electric excavator that we develop with the exchange battery packs is always prepared to be able to work on hydrogen at a later date. The only difference is that two battery packs are removed and hydrogen tanks and a fuel cell are returned. A battery pack will always remain in the excavator to absorb the peak load to the electric motor.
 
High investment costs
The big difference is that an excavator with a hydrogen system has a longer operating time. It can therefore continue to work for longer compared to a fully electric excavator that runs on batteries. At the moment there are only a few machines with a hydrogen system on the market, because these investment costs are much higher than for an electric machine. While the purchase price of the electric machine is already a lot higher than what we are used to from a machine on diesel. In addition, there is also a limited supply in the availability of hydrogen. This makes it difficult to refuel hydrogen and you as an entrepreneur become less flexible in deployment options. And you know; Time is money! So you will also lose more time and money with refueling.

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