F1: FIA says it has developed 100% sustainable fuel

Formula 1
Jean Todt

Formula 1’s governing body says it has developed a 100% sustainable fuel to be used in grand prix cars.

The fuel is manufactured from bio-waste that is not intended for human or animal consumption, and has been supplied to F1’s engine manufacturers for testing.

The move is part of F1’s wider aim of becoming net-zero carbon by 2030.

F1 plans to use 100% sustainable fuels within the next five or six years, when a new engine formula is introduced.

They will be made a mandatory requirement when the sport brings in a new power-unit design, which is scheduled for 2026, but may be brought forward to 2025.

The FIA said it developed the new fuel to demonstrate that the technology can work in an F1 engine and lead to the sport’s fuel suppliers developing their own such fuels.

F1 has already raised the requirement for the bio-fuel content of fuels to 10% from next year.

FIA president Jean Todt said: “FIA takes its responsibility in leading motor sport and mobility into a low-carbon future to reduce the environmental impacts of our activities and contribute to a greener planet.

“By developing sustainable fuel made from bio-waste that can power F1, we are taking a new step forward.

“With the support of the world’s leading energy companies, we can combine the best technological and environmental performance.”

The FIA, which said it was aiming for carbon neutrality as an organisation in 2021 and net-zero carbon status by 2030, also released a video of all the F1 drivers advocating for progress on environmental issues.

Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsports, said: “F1 has long served as a platform for introducing next-generation advancements in the automotive world.

“We are delighted by the momentum on sustainable fuels, which perfectly aligns with our plan to be net-zero carbon as a sport by 2030.

“Our top sustainability priority now is building a roadmap for the hybrid engine that reduces emissions and has a real-world benefit for road cars.

“We believe we have the opportunity to do that with a next-generation engine that combines hybrid technology with sustainable fuels.”

F1’s current hybrid engines, which were introduced in 2014, have led to revolutionary steps forward in efficiency.

A typical road-car engine has a thermal efficiency – the rate at which it converts fuel-energy to power – of in the region of 30%. F1 hybrid engines are more than 50% thermally efficient.

However, the current engines are also highly complex and expensive, and the plan for the new formula is to increase the proportion of power generated by electrical energy but reduce cost and complexity.

Manufacturers and the sport’s bosses are in the process of exploring how that might happen.

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