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Fernando Alonso winning the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

Corvette Racing and several other teams in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) have been running on cellulosic ethanol for two years now but the alcohol fuel made its first appearance in Formula One this past weekend. New F1 regulations for 2010 require a small component of oxygenated fuel. Ferrari and its fuel supplier Shell have developed a blend that contains cellulosic ethanol to provide the oxygen component.

Running on this new cellulosic ethanol blend, the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa finished first and second during the opening round at Bahrain. The Ferraris are running only a small percentage of ethanol compared to the 85 percent used in ALMS it is a start. The ethanol was produced at the Iogen demonstration plant near Ottawa Canada using wheat straw that was grown nearby. Shell is an investor in Iogen and the companies are developing a full-scale commercial scale plant in Saskatchewan.


  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 14/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 12/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 12/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 13/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 13/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 12/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 12/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
  • SAKHIR (BAHRAIN) - 12/03/2010 - GP BAHRAIN F1_2010 - FRIDAY � FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO

[Source: Canadian Press, Shell]

PRESS RELEASE

Shell blends advanced biofuel into Scuderia Ferrari race fuel for 2010 Formula One season
13/03/2010

Shell today announced that the 2010 season Formula One fuel supplied for Scuderia Ferrari contains an advanced biofuels component derived from cellulosic ethanol, an advanced biofuel made from straw.

This will be the first time an advanced biofuel has been used in the Shell V-Power race fuel used by technical partner Ferrari, in Formula One.

Cellulosic ethanol, as an end fuel, is identical to ethanol but it can offer up to 90% less lifecycle CO2 emissions than gasoline. It is a key part of Shell's strategic investment and development programme in sustainable biofuels.

The cellulosic ethanol was produced at Iogen Energy's demonstration plant in Ottawa, Canada, using non-food wheat straw and advanced conversion processes. Shell and Iogen are partners in the plant, which produced more than 500,000 litres of cellulosic ethanol last year.

Shell has been working closely together with Scuderia Ferrari since the middle of last year to develop a fuel that meets the new FIA regulations and maximises performance for the 2010 season.

Shell and Iogen Energy are working towards construction of a full-scale commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Saskatchewan Canada. The proposed project has met a number of significant milestones and the feasibility and design assessment work are well advanced.

"We are delighted that the fuel we are supplying to Scuderia Ferrari this season contains an advanced bio-component derived from Iogen cellulosic ethanol" says Dr Lisa Lilley, Shell's Technology Manager for Ferrari. "This announcement clearly demonstrates our commitment to the development of sustainable, low carbon fuels. At Shell, we are accelerating the research, development and demonstration of advanced biofuels and we are committed to technical innovation through our motorsport activities."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      • 6 Months Ago
      It's great to see Ferrari starting to use npn-food cellulosic ethanol in their F1 cars although in a small percentage at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. I was just wandering how the ethanol fuel remains stable in such a high temperature in Bahrain!
      • 6 Months Ago
      Hi,

      Two things -- I'll have to keep my mouth shut when we watch the race (on video tape). And -- *why* is there a carpet of green grass in Bahrain? Sheesh.

      Neil
      • 6 Months Ago
      *sigh* I hadn't finished watching the race yet, but that's the risk I take...

      This requirement to blend in something like ethanol is tough this year as they now require NO refueling during the race. Running e85 like ALMS would be super tough as the volume/mass would be that much greater (it's like ~330 lbs of fuel now). Of course if they did have to run e85 that would just force them to more efficient! Some day...
        • 6 Months Ago
        The Indy car circuit switched to methanol only starting in the mid 1960s, and methanol has even lower mileage than methanol. No complaints. They switched from methanol to ethanol a recently.

        Racers like alcohol because it provides much more octane, meaning greater acceleration and responsiveness. It's also much safer, less prone to exploding in a crash, than gasoline, because the range of fuel to air ratios that is flammable is narrower and the energy input necessary for ignition (the spark) is higher. Another safety issue is that alcohol burns with no smoke. That's what caused the Indy500 to go with methanol - because of a horrific crash with billowing black smoke that blinded other drivers and caused other crashes.