This week in the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup I am talking about sustainable racetracks, flax race car panels and throaty American muscle car sounds in an EV. I also bring you news of a hydrogen-powered rally car, whether F1 can be powered by hydrogen, my occasional columns Every Little Bit Counts and Getting to the Track Sustainably plus much more.
Sustainable Motorsport News
- The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, host of the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix and MotoGP’s Catalan Grand Prix, has been named the most sustainable circuit according to the most recent edition of Enovation Consulting’s Sustainable Circuit Index. “Out of 96 circuits reviewed, 43 demonstrated some level of engagement with sustainability, an increase compared to the 31 from last year.”
- Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) has announced a contract with Cherry Street Energy, LLC, the largest non-utility provider of solar energy in Georgia, to build and operate a solar power microgrid at One Porsche Drive – the site that combines PCNA corporate headquarters with the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta. A microgrid is an on-site electrical network with its own power source, in this case solar panels, that also connects to the wider electrical grid. “Installation of the solar microgrid will start in September and is expected to be completed in 2023, kicking off a 25-year operating agreement between PCNA and Cherry Street Energy. Panels will be mounted on new and existing buildings, the roofs of staging areas by the two tracks where customers start their drives, and on a new 950-foot covered walkway from the parking garage to the headquarters building. Cherry Street Energy will own, operate and maintain the microgrid, selling the power to PCNA. Through this direct transaction, Cherry Street Energy will provide stabilized energy rates and generate significant, measurable reductions in carbon emissions for Porsche.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- Toyota is hopeful hydrogen power will emerge as a future environmentally friendly propulsion method for rallying following the debut of its GR Yaris hydrogen prototype. “If you look at the environment things, is there any solution for a win-win situation? This hydrogen is used in engines and we have [engine] sounds, and the only output from the car is water, so this is good for the environment, and good for being fun to drive.”
- What about in Formula 1? According to Motorsport.com, Alpine is investigating hydrogen as a possible propulsion technology for a future F1 engine. “Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said that, with fully electric engines not an option for F1 for a while, that evaluating hydrogen as a long-term solution had it merits.”
- Not so fast says Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi. He has crunched the numbers and is not so sure hydrogen would be suitable. “So, looking only at the true underlying most important physical characteristics of the fuels, gasoline and hydrogen, without the complications of cooling, storing, safety, transporting etc, even at the best case scenario, it is clear that a race car with a 3x fuel tank size is not an option for performance. Therefore even if the other problems are solved with technology, physics is the ultimate decision maker in this case: it is almost impossible to build a car with such a huge fuel tank for similar energy output.”
- The company Power Battery compared the battery used in the new ERA Championship car with that used in Formula E. Since the link is in Dutch, this is the English translation from their LinkedIn page:
- For example, we developed a solid, safe and high-powered battery pack especially for ERA, the world’s first fully electric junior racing class. With it, Software AG ERA Championship achieved the lap record at Circuit Zolder. Recently, we have regularly been asked to what extent the ERA package can compete with the FormulaE package. This seemed for us a good reason for a product comparison. The conclusion? In terms of kWh, the ERA package is slightly heavier, but also considerably smaller than the package in the Formula E car. And this is also reflected in the pricing, which is about a factor of 8 lower than the Formula E packages. More details? Then read our last blog about the record-breaking FIA tested formula car from ERA>>> https://lnkd.in/eXn95vtg
- In A Plant You’ve Never Heard of Might Change Racing Tires Forever, Motor Trend looks at the guayule (pronounced why-YOU-lay) plant that is used in the new Firestone sustainable Indycar tires that I have mentioned in previous Sustainable Motorsport Roundups.
- Last week I mentioned the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT electric concept car. Two interesting technologies that are part of the car are its multi-speed elector-mechanical transmission and its “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust” system. The exhaust system can hit 126 db and best I can tell, it is some kind of amplification applied to the servo motors, its not an artificially simulated sound. Anyhow, you can listen to it in the video above. An interesting approach to the issue of sound in an EV.
- Last week I brought you highlights from the World eX Summit. This week I bring you a video of the Keynote event featuring Beth Georgiou from the ERA Championship.
- When I read the article Should Formula 2 test sustainable fuels before being introduced in F1? on RaceFans, it reminded me of what Formula E Sporting Director Frederic Espinos said at a webinar I had attended on Sustainable Motorsport. I am paraphrasing here but what he said was essentially this; it is important to understand that motorsport is a sport first and sustainability is an important part of that sport and should be promoted heavily. People won’t watch because of sustainability, they will come to watch the racing. While I agree with the reasoning some are arguing for the switch to sustainable fuel to some extent, this is a customer racing series being used to prepare drivers for F1. “I really don’t think it would be wise for us to be taking on that because this is a customer championship Formula 2 and our drivers are paying us to drive,” said Trevor Carlin. “Those drivers are paying for development and Formula 1 teams have a lot of money, a lot of resources and engine companies. So I think that type of work, they should be doing themselves and we shouldn’t really get involved.”
- Japan’s Super Formula continues to develop their next generation car with an eye to increased sustainability and less dirty air. According to Motorsport.com, they have been experimenting extensively with reusable materials. “After a first test at Fuji Speedway last month in which carbon-neutral fuel and Yokohama tyres featuring a proportion of reusable materials were tried out, sidepods and engine covers made from flax – supplied by Swiss company Bcomp – made their on-track debut on Monday. However, amid concerns that purely flax-based panels may not be strong enough, a ‘hybrid’ solution featuring both flax and carbon fibre was also put through its paces at Suzuka.”
Every Little Bit Counts
As I mentioned last week, I am a big proponent of doing little things to decrease our impact on the environment while keeping in mind and understanding the bigger picture. So whether you decide to buy from a sustainable clothing brand or reduce your energy consumption at home, every little bit counts and interestingly enough, it often saves you money in the long run. Wired has a great article called The Psychology of Inspiring Everyday Climate Action which gives some more ideas on how you can integrate increased sustainability into your lifestyle. At the very least it will make you think. “Researchers generally agree that people can make the most positive changes in three areas of their lives: transportation (flying and driving), diet (meat consumption and food waste), and household gas and energy use. By taking one transatlantic flight, an individual puts the equivalent of 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—a huge fraction of the 20 tons the average American produces each year. (We should be seeking to bring that number down to 2 tons, Nicholas says.) Project Drawdown, an organization that quantifies the effects of a wide variety of climate change solutions, puts plant-rich diets and reduced food waste near the top of its list.”
Getting to the Track Sustainably
Getting to the Track Sustainably is my occasional column on developments in sustainable transportation that could have some application to motorsport. Since the majority of carbon emissions come from logistics and transportation, this topic is of utmost importance as motorsport works to make itself more sustainable. Here are some articles you may find of interest.
- Sustainable Aviation Fuel Market To Witness Huge Growth and Revenue Acceleration by 2028
- UK Hydrogen Regional Startup EAG Starts Fuel-Cell Spinoff
- When the Little Things Matter: As the industry sets lofty goals with genuine intentions to become more environmentally friendly, making small improvements can add up.
- This Hybrid Plane Uses New Technology to Enhance Performance—and Reduce Emissions
- Lufthansa tests new service for CO2-neutral flying: Lufthansa is testing a new service that allows passengers to offset the CO2 emissions of their air travel directly on board in a move to offer even more options for CO2-neutral flying.
- Airbus VP of Research & Technology Talks Sustainable Aviation Fuel and Hydrogen
- Iberia makes first long-haul flight using SAF in partnership with Repsol
- A 17-year-old Invented a Motor that Could Revolutionize the Electric Vehicle Industry
- Coors Beer Clan’s New Brew: Cheap Hydrogen For Cleaner Trucks And Factories