In the world of alternative power, not all fuels are created equal. This fact is true with ethanol, where the alcohol can be made using fairly inefficient processes, some of which involve corn, or using more advanced cellulosic methods which do not use a foodstock. Diesel too can come from either petroleum or from non-dino sources. You're probably aware that Audi has been assaulting various race tracks using its advanced diesel powered race cars, specifically its two-time Le Mans-winning R10 TDI, which has so far been running on what is known as gas-to-liquid (GTL) diesel fuel. With the 24 Hours of Le Mans just around the corner, Audi and Shell, the fuel provider for Audi's race team, have announced that the team will be blending a small amount of biomass-to-liquid (BTL) fuel into its secret mixture. Shell's BTL fuel is made from materials such as wood chips and will make its on-track debut on Sunday, June 1, as Audi's R10 TDI begins its official Le Mans testing.

[Source: Audi]

Press Release:

Audi R10 TDI uses Biofuel of the next generation for the first time

* World premiere at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
* New: Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel with GTL and BTL
* Synthetic diesel fuel reduces emission of CO2
* British ace Allan McNish bids for glory

Ingolstadt – World premiere in motorsport: At the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours on 14/15 June, the three Audi R10 TDI prototypes entered by Audi Sport Team Joest will race for the first time with the next generation of Biofuel manufactured from Biowaste and promising a reduction in the emission of CO2 by almost 90 per cent when compared with traditional diesel. Britain's Allan McNish will race an Audi bidding for glory in a race he won 10 years ago.

Audi fields the 650-hp plus R10 TDI, which has already won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans twice, in sportscar races since 2006. Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel produced by development partner Shell has been used since the very beginning. It's a particularly powerful and efficient synthetic fuel which is created from Natural Gas in a process called Gas To Liquids (GTL). Fuels with these components are already available at the pumps.

For the third appearance of the Audi R10 TDI at Le Mans, a small amount of Biofuel of the next generation is mixed for the first time with the previously well-proven GTL components: BTL (Biomass To Liquids), as it is officially called, is extracted from Biowaste that is unfit for use in foodstuffs, for example from waste wood. BTL promises a reduction in the amount of CO2 emission by almost 90 per cent compared to traditional diesel.

Although they are manufactured from different raw materials, the two alternative fuels BTL and GTL are practically Sulphur free and odourless. They combine quality and efficient combustion with reduced exhaust emissions.

"Audi voiced its support early for the use of next generation Biofuels at Le Mans," explains Michael Dick, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG with responsibility for Technical Development. "It underlines our philosophy that we view Le Mans as a tough test field for new technologies which will be available at a later date in production cars for our customers. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) provides the opportunity to use alternative drive concepts and fuels, which we exploit to the full."

The V12 TDI known for its efficiency and fitted to the Audi R10 TDI has already been tested successfully with the new fuel on the dynamometer and during tests. The first public appearance follows this coming Sunday (1 June) at the official test day at Le Mans. It traditionally provides teams with the only opportunity to test on the 13.629-kilometre circuit of Le Mans before the race.

Practice is on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. All three cars of Audi Sport Team Joest and all nine drivers will be in action.

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