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Bio-ethanol gives positive result for motorsport


Bio-ethanol gives positive result for motorsport

 

Leaded fuels will be replaced by unleaded pump fuels in this season’s motorsport race championships and will be eliminated from all MotorSport New Zealand sanctioned events by 2010.

Recognising that a further shift to sustainably produced bio-fuels may be necessary in the future MotorSport New Zealand recently investigated bio-ethanol in high-performance engines, producing some positive results.

The testing, supported by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), found that there are benefits to both the environment and competitors in using bio-ethanol-blended petrol and while performance gains were modest, the combination provided positive momentum for further research.

“We are aware that our sport is perceived as less than environmentally friendly,” said MotorSport New Zealand general manager Ross Armstrong. “We are keen to do everything we can to mitigate our impact on the environment while still maintaining the integrity of the sport. We have moved to eliminate leaded fuels as a first step. Competitors in the current NZ Rally Championship are using pump fuels and race championship competitors will follow suit this summer. The bio-fuels research was the next step in our forward planning for fuels.

“Ethanol and fuels blended with ethanol have characteristics that offer advantages over conventional motorsport fuels for high-performance engines, and ethanol produced from sustainable feedstock has been proven to reduce net carbon dioxide emissions,” he said.

“As an initial investigation we’re very happy with the outcomes,” says Mr Armstrong. “As part of our evolving environmental policy we accept we need to take a responsible view on fuels. There is still a lot of information to be gained but we’ve already had enquiries from other countries, who are interested in this work.”

Liz Yeaman, team manager renewables and energy supply from EECA recognises the importance of the testing.

“It’s very encouraging to see MotorSport New Zealand taking a proactive approach to environmental responsibility. The results of the research create a strong case for the use of sustainable bioethanol-blended petrol, whether it’s in high-performance applications or general day-to-day use.

“Bioethanol-blended petrol is in use all over the world, and has been for over 20 years. New Zealand drivers need to know that using sustainable bio-fuels in our cars can be good for both performance and the environment.”

 

 

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