[imagesource: The Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix]
The world’s premier motorsport Formula 1 is developing its own 100% sustainable fuel.
The goal is two-fold: the new fuel will hopefully save the internal combustion engine by making the F1 cars run with net-zero carbon emissions.
An internal combustion engine, by the way, is one that burns fuel within a combustion chamber using a spark to force the piston down to create a rotation on the crankshaft, which turns heat energy into power to make the engine go.
Secondly, the new fuel will help the motorsport competition keep electric vehicles away from the race track for as long as possible.
Sure, EVs are becoming more popular as more motor brands ramp up with their first electric editions.
But F1 believes that less than 10% of cars on the track will be fully electric by 2030, so the competition is gearing itself towards a cleaner-burning E10 fuel for next season instead, according to Robb Report:
The fuel is still in development, and it’s possible that it will derive from municipal waste or non-food biomass, like algae.
F1 hopes to match the energy density of traditional gasoline while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65 per cent.
The new fuel, which any internal combustion engine will be able to use, will still emit carbon dioxide, but there will be zero net carbon dioxide produced.
“It’s a totally circular thing,” F1 CTO Pat Symonds said in a statement. “We’re not producing any CO2 that is not already in the atmosphere at the moment; we’re taking it out of the atmosphere, we’re using it, and we’re putting it back in the atmosphere.”
F1 is currently in talks with other companies about the fuel, with the aim of increasing production for mainstream public use at some stage in the future, too.
The competition hopes to be fully on track by 2025, which is when new regulations will kick in and its race cars will be fitted with a new generation of engines that will run on sustainable fuel.
The shift to purely synthetic fuel can’t come soon enough, and Porsche is adding some vooma by potentially becoming an engine supplier for F1 if this all works out as planned:
[Porsche’s] Motorsport VP, Fritz Enzinger, told BBC Sport that the company was interested in joining F1 if the competition would commit to more sustainable practices. One of the moves he cited: a switch to cleaner-burning fuels.
At least we can count on F1 for being quite fast-moving.
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