the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Greenthink gone too far or too fast?

Posted by Jeff Id on October 8, 2009

I just love the idiocy of the greenies.  Saving the world one racecar at a time.


World-first Sustainable Racing Car Runs On Chocolate, To Take On Formula 3

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2009) — Can the idea of ‘green motorsport’ actually work? Yes, according to EPSRC funded researcher, Dr Kerry Kirwan at the University of Warwick, who led the research team which designed and built the worldfirst fully sustainable Formula 3 racing car.

The car is made from woven flax, recycled carbon fibre, recycled resin and carrot pulp for the steering wheel. It runs on biofuel made from chocolate and animal fats and is lubricated with plant oils. But it’s not just an environmentally friendly car, it is also fast. The car has a top speed of 135 mph, can achieve 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is turbo charged to give it more torque.

Having got the seal of approval from drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Adam Carroll as well as F1 team boss Ross Brawn, the car will make its first competitive debut in the Formula 3 Championship final at Brands Hatch on 17th October. The team hope to prove that high performance, competitive cars can be built from sustainable materials.

According to Dr Kirwan the idea behind the project is to show that: “being sustainable and green can be incredibly sexy, fun and fast.” He goes on to say that even though people’s perception of motorsport is that it’s wasteful, this project is “aiming to show ways for the future, for people to race and be green.”

Read the whole story.

14 Responses to “Greenthink gone too far or too fast?”

  1. joshv said

    Gilligan’s island was decades ahead of the curve apparently. Coconut powered batteries are the future.

  2. dougie said

    yeh, great green advert.

    then they fly it & all it’s all gear to races around the world to show how ‘green’ they are!!

  3. Konrad said

    You may laugh at this story, but even as a climate skeptic I feel our use of fossil fuels is negligent and wasteful. While there is no problem with CO2, petrol cars create other emissions we don’t need in our cities. Alternative powered vehicles have a long way to go to truly have a lower impact on the environment, but with the recent developments in carbon matrix super capacitors things are looking promising. Motorsports are an effective way of increasing interest and speeding development. Possibly more effective than relying on the Prius “smug” factor. I have been impressed with one spin off from Formula SAE which is Formula Hybrid, in which engineering students build and race small cars they must build in one year.

  4. Konrad said

    Jeff, sorry I posted a live link to video. How do I post a link so it needs to be clicked on before it activates?

  5. Jeff Id said

    #4 It needs to be clicked for me already.

    While I disagree about the fossil fuels, in college I worked on a hybrid electric car where I had to redo the entire electronic control system in 1 month and interface it with a computer b/c the students had blown their portion. I got it to work just in time but when we got to the race the officials changed the rules that our control system couldn’t be grounded to the car body so I spent the next three days and nights redoing the whole electronic package (dozens of control lines) to optically isolate them. What a nightmare. It was a cool project though.

  6. Konrad said

    I admit my interest in your initial post was sparked because I was recently working on a feasibility study for a TV production company that would involve something similar to Formula Hybrid. As to the earthing rules, these are now very defined in the rules for Formula Hybrid 2009. Safety appears to be a significant issue with electric and alternative fuel cars. Accumulators can fail producing lethal discharges and LiPo batteries can create a far more energetic explosion than a petrol tank, even with a lower energy density. I have yet to see what I would call crash safe hydrogen storage. More work is needed.

    As to fossil fuels, I am sure we can do better for ground transport in cities. IC engines in an urban environment do not just combine nitrogen, oxygen and hydrocarbons. They also breathe in exhaust from other vehicles and other pollutants. What comes out the tail pipe on the test stand (CO2 and H2O) may not be the whole picture. Then there is the vapour boil off from tanks and filling stations. I’m a CO2 skeptic but I still want a “Star Trek” future 🙂

  7. Jeff Id said

    This is just my opinion, but unlike climatology I do have some background in the subject.

    Vapour boil off is too minimal to worry about, this point always baffles me when I hear it. I also used to teach fuels and lubes, and engines lab to auto engineers – you gotta pay for classes somehow. From my experience running engines in the lab, the stuff breathed in is quantified has very minuscule effect on any combustion or output. It’s actually taken into consideration by the next emission system/engine to breath it in and reprocessed.

    I agree that the future will not use IC engines but the tech will come on its own time and doesn’t need to be forced or coerced beyond the most minimal measures. If hybrid works, people will naturally buy it. The auto companies already have enough pressure on them.

    Nobody likes pollution and hybrid is one of the few technologies presented which currently appears to have a reasonable future.

  8. kuhnkat said

    Recycled carbon-fiber and resin???

    Wonder how energy and chemical intensive this is?

    Do they use recycled metals??

    Turbocharged?? I can feel the heat now!!


  9. wattsupwiththat said

    Formula Yum

  10. Alberto said

    Chocolate? What a waste! Chocolate is for eating, not driving.

  11. j ferguson said


    Data ground couldn’t be Chassis Ground? What was there reason?

  12. Jeff Id said

    They said that since our motors were attached to battery ground (big batteries) it would be a safety issue. Since they didn’t make the rule until we were at the competition, we offered a 1ma fuse as an alternative- they said no. So we pulled electronic boards and began adding chips which didn’t even fit in the space as fast as we could with literally hundreds of wires and connections to make, components to source (on a weekend) and no time. It’s been almost 20 years and I’m still pissed. haha.

  13. Jeff Id said

    Also, it wasn’t a safety issue in our vehicle for several reasons.

  14. Retired Engineer said

    I suspect they wanted an isolated chassis to prevent excitement if the + lead touched the chassis. With isolation, you need two points of contact. That’s weak, but all I can think of.

    Alberto #10 is absolutely right. Chocolate is what you give your ladyfriend when you return from a long trip. (who says engineers are dumb) Using it for fuel is worse than corn to ethanol (well, at least as fuel). Philistines.

    Recycled resin bothers me a bit. Once it has cured, it takes some effort to un-cure it.

    Just because can run a turbine on peanut butter doesn’t make it a good idea.

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