Sustainable race car eats chocolate
COVENTRY, England—Researchers in England have developed a Formula 3 race car using what they describe as environmentally sustainable technologies.
Researchers at the University of Warwick in Coventry recently unveiled a car that uses fuel processed from chocolate waste and body components that incorporate many recycled and natural materials.
“This car has a whole raft of green technologies on board, from recycled materials to natural materials to some fun chemistry that converts ozone to oxygen,” said Kerry Kirwan, a researcher with the university's Warwick Manufacturing Group.
“Components made from plants form the mainstay of the car's makeup, including a race-specification steering wheel derived from carrots and other root vegetables, a flax fiber and soybean oil foam racing seat, a woven flax fiber bib, plant oil-based lubricants, and a biodiesel engine configured to run on fuel derived from waste chocolate and vegetable oil.”
The researchers developed the race car to prove auto racing and environmental responsibility can co-exist, Mr. Kirwan said.
“We recognize people like to drive fast cars,” he said. “They like to fly. They're not going to live in caves, and the general public is getting a bit fed up with being told, do this, don't do that, if you want to be environmentally friendly.”
As engineers and scientists, the Warwick researchers decided to be pragmatic and develop solutions that allow people to continue racing while mitigating any environmental damage it may cause.
The car's performance allows it to be competitive. It can travel at 125 miles per hour around corners, they said.
“It feels pretty amazing,” project manager James Meredith said. “It's very quick. It feels like a very aggressive, serious car.”
The researchers had no experience engineering race cars, but worked with numerous companies that did.
“It's quite exciting and it's something a bit different,” Mr. Meredith said. “Hopefully, they'll see it's quite a serious attempt to bring sustainability into motor sports.”
Steve Maggs, a senior teaching fellow at the university and one of the researchers, said the successful experiment proves sustainability can be incorporated into the design of a car all the way from conception through disposal.
“The project clearly demonstrates that automotive environmentalism can and should be about the whole package,” he said.
Natural fibers replace plastic and PVC whenever possible—meaning more of the car can be recycled or composted easily, Mr. Maggs said.
The car meets all Formula 3 racing standards except for its biodiesel engine, which is configured to run on the waste chocolate fuel. Formula 3 cars cannot use biodiesel.
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Tire Business would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor Don Detore at [email protected].