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Wine residue to shrink carbon footprint of endurance racing

Yeah, alcoholic beverages do have their benefits

The wine industry's trash is endurance racing's treasure. PHOTO FROM LE MANS

In the never-ending fight against global warming, several motorsport series have adopted electrification to some extent in order to lessen the dependence on traditional fuels. Formula 1, for example, has embraced hybrid technology as a means of lowering its carbon footprint. In the recently concluded 24 Hours of Le Mans, we saw that electrified cars could still be race-winning machines.

Aside from hybridization, the use of biofuels is seen as another way to make endurance racing (and motorsports, in general) an eco-friendlier affair. According to this Bloomberg report, French petroleum giant TotalEnergies is currently experimenting with a type of biofuel that is said to be 100% renewable. And it is working together with a rather unlikely partner: the wine industry.

A special kind of ethanol will be mixed with byproducts of winemaking. These include wine lees (leftover particles from enzymes created during yeast fermentation) and grape pomace (solid residue consisting of grape skins and seeds). The resulting biofuel is expected to reduce the carbon emissions of race cars by at least 65%, and is scheduled to undergo real-world tests at next year’s Le Mans race.

Porsche is also currently trialing another type of renewable fuel in its one-make race series. Today’s IndyCar vehicles run on a mix of ethanol and high-octane gasoline. Certain WRC categories will soon require cars to have hybrid powertrains. And F1 is looking into sustainable fuels as part of its commitment to a low-carbon future.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.