Biofuel stars at Taupo (and we win)

Written By: - Date published: 1:43 pm, January 22nd, 2008 - 10 comments
Categories: news - Tags: ,

696367.jpgCongratultions to Jonny Reid for his win in the Taupo A1GP sprint race on Sunday.

He also managed to finish fourth in the feature race which gives the NZ team the series lead.

What was also a world first is that all of the teams competing took to the track with 30% biofuel in their tanks.

As reported by The Herald:

A1GP’s new fuel, an ethanol-based product called Hiperflo E30, is sourced from sugar beet in Europe and produced specifically for A1GP.

Developed in partnership with Zytek, the engine maker for the series, the fuel will reduce CO2 emissions by 21 per cent per car based on a wheel-to-wheel calculation. The introduction of E30 was delayed from the start of the season, making Taupo the first A1GP event powered by biofuel.

10 comments on “Biofuel stars at Taupo (and we win)”

  1. Phil 1

    It’s great to see Kiwi’s punching above their weight!

    Colin Giltrap has put together a fantastic team, and they deserve a lot bigger profile than they get. I’ve always thought that NZ’s support of motorsport (especially McLarenF1) should be up there with the level of mania exhibited by Italians toward Ferrari.

    Speaking of Ferrari, A1 are switching from Zytek to Ferrari V8’s at the end of this season, so I suspect that biofuel will be short-lived in the series. Good on them for giving it a crack though.

  2. insider 2

    yeah great.

    It costs more, gets lower fuel efficiency, and may actually increase emissions if gained from farmed crops. But hey it makes a great photo op for the so called sustainability crowd.

  3. Mason Clinic 3

    I am not well

    [Tane: I know you’re not Dad, so stop posting as other people]

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    insider, I understand the efficiency loss due to bio-enthanol (but I don’t think that’s likely in a racing situation) but it is unlikely to increase emmissions that count.

    Fossil fuels are what I call deep-cycle (I think it may be the common term) – they’re in the ground for millions of years and sequester billions of tonnes of carbon in that way. Once released, well, it’s in the atmosphere for good (in our timescale, perhaps not in a geological sense of time but that’s not relevant to an approx. 6,000 year old civilisation).

    Bio-fuels are from shallow-cycle carbon – it was in the air, it goes back into the plant as the crop grows, and is then released back into the air during combustion. Not it’s far from perfect – the carbon used to grow the damn crops, not to mention the deforestation that is occuring world-wide make for some posers that I wouldn’t expect the A1GP to face. However the carbon cost of oil production isn’t small either.

    The upshot is, they’re supporting an initiative that is of a sum benefit. Think of it this way – with fossil fuels, 100% of the carbon is ‘new’ to the atmosphere. With bio-fuels, all of the carbon has been taken out of the atmosphere and is being returned.

    Sustainable – not quite, but better than the alternative!

  5. insider 5


    The answer is yes and no and it depends. There has been a lot of debate over bioethanol particularly. No problem with ‘waste’ products that are converted. I think the well to wheels savings are pretty clear.

    A lot of the issue comes down to the farmed fuels and the inputs used or assumptions. You can get very different numbers for corn ethanol from the states/europe than from NZ because of the relative intensity of farming practices. In NZ we use much less energy and much of our electricity is renewable. That isn;t the norm for the big biofuel countries (except Brazil) so you still ahve the deep carbon of coal, oil or gas being asignificant factor. I’ve seen some analyses where the balance moves from negative to positive based on whether you use the leftover bagasse or straw as heat inputs to the fuel making process. That is a pretty fine balance.

    I think the answer is it is not quite as simple as some local politicians would make out.

    It is going to be interesting this year to see how the oil industry copes with biofuel targets. The problem we are going to have in NZ is if the govt tries to restrict imports on sustainability grounds. It will just cut our noses off to spite our faces because it will restrict options which will further increase the cost of an expensive fuel.

  6. Askewed 6

    What was even more impressive was that our local Toyota Racing Series (which also featured at the taupo event) is now using fuel that is 85 per cent biofuel – which apparently comes from Fonterra’s wey.

  7. oldsalt 7

    And without motor racing the world would be a better place.
    No glorification of speed.
    No driving without conveyance.
    One less bastion of “winning”

  8. Outofbed 8

    Just can’t get excited by Motor racing ( watching)

  9. Phil 9

    Ah, yes, no talk of motoring can ever be complete without someone getting in a dig at the wastefulness and glorification of speed…

    Well, it may come as a surprise, but I actually agree. Motorsport, as an industry, needs to take responsibility for the impact it has on the world. It needs to stand up and say;

    “We are to blame for the exponential increase in safety standards on modern road cars, that save thousands of lives each year. We are at fault for the technological improvements that make the engine in your four door-sedan more fuel efficient, the improvement in aerodynamic efficiency of the vehicle body, and the advancement of tyre technology, that saves the world millions of gallons of petroleum.”

    Gosh, if only they would take responsibility for all that wastefullness. Yes, without that competitive instinct to ‘win’ we would all be so much better off.

  10. PM 10

    To the hollow men and women behind the standard:

    Can I ask, do you think it would be inappropriate or unethical if people employed by a union were to run an anonymous blog and on that blog make a post about how someone high up in that union (eg the union’s president) was standing for a political nomination, together with a glowing recommendation (eg “.I’ve got to say I was taken by his level-headedness and the way he’d think before passing comment on anything – definitely a safe pair of hands”) while passing themselves off as independent commentators – all the while refusing to disclose that they worked for that union and hence had a vested interest?

    Not saying that that’s what you’ve done, of course. Just asking whether you believe that would be inappropriate or unethical? Simple question, really. A “yes” or “no” answer would suffice.

    Having asked the question, however, your refusal to deny that staff of EPMU are behind this blog really make these sorts of posts a bit suspicious:

    Pryde of the South

    Of course you could remove all suspicion by simply denying that anyone who posts on this blog is employed by said union.

    Simply, really. Yet no denial. Why wouldn’t you deny it if it wasn’t true?

    Hopefully you’re starting to see why disclosure statements are so important.

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