Mercedes’ F1 team cut its freight emissions by 89% with biofuel switch

Enlarge / One of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team’s Actros Gigaspace trucks, seen here at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, when it first tried the drop-in renewable biofuel instead of conventional diesel. (credit: Steve Etherington/Mercedes-AMG F1)

A switch from diesel to biofuel significantly reduced the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team’s freight carbon emissions in a new test. The team made the switch for the final three European races of this season, using locally sourced hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO)—made from food waste like fryer oil—to run 16 heavy trucks as they hauled the team between grand prix in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy.

Over a distance of 870 miles (1,400 km), it says the use of HVO resulted in less carbon emissions—44,091 kg less to be specific, which is a decrease of 89 percent compared to normal fossil fuel diesel.

The race cars are a rounding error

A push for greater fuel efficiency in Formula 1 has resulted in some fairly remarkable engineering. A current F1 powertrain is as complex as the sport has ever seen, combining comparatively tiny but extraordinarily efficient V6 gasoline engines with hybrid systems that recover energy under braking and from the turbocharger spinning.

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