Formula 1 Is Creating a 100% Sustainable Fuel to Keep Internal Combustion Alive


Formula 1 Is Creating a 100% Sustainable Fuel to Keep Internal Combustion Alive

While electric vehicle sales have been setting records in 2021, EVs are still a relative blip on the radar, with around 310,000 EVs sold in the U.S. in the first half of 2021 out of more than eight million total sales. Although EV market share should increase dramatically as automakers convert their lineups to electric power, internal-combustion engines will likely stick around for years to come, especially on a global scale. With the continued global relevance of the internal-combustion engine in mind, the world’s most popular motorsport, Formula 1, has announced that its next generation of engines, set to hit the track in 2025, will be powered by a 100 percent sustainable fuel that F1 later envisions becoming available for mainstream use.

For 2022, F1 cars will already switch from high octane fuel to E10—the British term for 87-octane gas—which is 10 percent ethanol. But the power units created under the new regulations coming in 2025 will use a 100 percent sustainable fuel which F1 says will be laboratory created using elements from a variety of potential sources. One option is carbon capture, which catches carbon dioxide at its emission source for storage or reuse. F1 says the fuel could also come from municipal waste or non-food biomass such as algae or agricultural waste. The aim is for the new fuel to be able to match the energy density of the gasoline currently used in F1, meaning the cars’ performance should be unaffected.

Burning sustainable fuels does still release carbon dioxide as a byproduct, but unlike a gasoline engine, there is no net carbon dioxide emitted. As F1 Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds explained: “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 expects the new fuel to achieve greenhouse-gas-emissions savings of at least 65 percent, compared to traditional gasoline.

For the full story, check out this article from Car And Driver.

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