Fuel for Thought
F1 team trial of biofuels for land freight significantly reduces CO2 emissions
Oct 11 2022
Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS recently conducted trials into the use of biofuels for their freight transportation for the last three races in Europe during this year’s Formula 1 World Championship. They fuelled 16 Mercedes race trucks with HVO100 biofuel to travel between the F1 tracks at Spa, Zandvoort and Monza. 44,091kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) was saved, an 89% reduction in freight emissions.
The trial enabled the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team to find out more about some of the challenges they face next season and beyond with a complete adoption of biofuels – and their determination to achieve the verified Net Zero target, set by F1, by 2030. This provided an excellent opportunity to learn about the positive environmental effects of switching to biofuels, as well as practical issues, such as sourcing, so the team can maximise their use of sustainable fuels in Europe next season.
The trial started at the Belgian Grand Prix, followed by the Dutch Grand Prix and finally off to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, a journey of approximately 1400 kms/870 miles. According to the analysis carried out after the trial: using HVO 100 biofuel reduced freight emissions by 89% and saved 44,091kg of CO2.
One of Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS’s trucks was powered by HVO100 biofuel from the Hungarian Grand Prix all the way to their headquarters in Brackley, UK. Thirteen race trucks, located in Belgium, and three trucks from the UK then used locally sourced biofuel to travel 300km from Spa to Zandvoort and then a further 1100km to Monza. Frustratingly, the 20km of the journey required the use of diesel fuel because of supply issues, but the trial has given the team valuable lessons for the coming seasons.
The fule used by the trucks was Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO 100), a completely renewable fossil fuel free product derived from vegetable oils, waste oils and fats. The use of this renewable fuel can reduce CO2 emissions significantly as well as the impact of freight on air quality by lowering NOx and particulate emissions.
Today, bioenergy accounts for approximately 10% of the total, global primary energy supply, with forecasts anticipating an increase by 28% by 2026. Motorsports is already embracing biofuels; F1 introduced the use of E10 biofuels this season as part of their initiative to transition to 100% sustainable fuel in F1 cars from the 2026 season.
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