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  • Writer's pictureEster Fonseca-Patriarco

IndyCar Will Use 100% Renewable Race Fuel This Season

When Shell announced that they would be the official fuel, motor oil, and lubricant sponsor of the NTT IndyCar Series in 2023, part of the deal included the production of a 100% sustainable fuel for the series. That meant a major commitment to sustainability. This fuel change will help IndyCar reduce its carbon footprint and become a more environmentally friendly racing series.


Agustín Canapino, Juncos Hollinger Racing at Motorsport.com



What is this 100% renewable race fuel?

This fuel is made from second-generation ethanol produced by Raízen, a Brazilian Joint-Venture created by Shell and Cosan, which uses sugarcane and other derivatives as feedstock. Raízen is the largest first-generation ethanol producer in Brazil and the only producer in the world to operate four second-generation ethanol plants on an industrial scale.


What is second-generation ethanol?

In order to extend the life cycle and value of sugarcane used in the production of ethanol in Brazil, researchers found an alternative fuel called second-generation ethanol (2G ethanol or 2GE). 2GE is a biofuel produced from residues that are discarded in the production of first-generation ethanol (1G ethanol or 1GE).


Why is it more sustainable?

This innovative fuel offers a cleaner burning alternative to traditional gasoline and diesel fuels, with lower carbon emissions, making it a better option as a race fuel. It is estimated that second-generation ethanol could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 86%. Therefore, this move will help IndyCar reduce its carbon footprint and become an even more environmentally friendly racing series. This reduction in emissions could help improve air quality and decelerate the effects of climate change.


Additionally, using the byproduct of 1GE promotes the growth of the biofuels market without further affecting the expansion of deforested areas and the reduction of areas destined for food production. Brazilian researchers found that, compared to 1GE, 2GE is capable of increasing ethanol production per hectare by up to 250%.


Raízen ethanol plant in Brazil at raizen.com.br


IndyCar’s move to renewable fuel is just one step towards a more sustainable future for motorsports. We look forward to seeing what other initiatives they come up with to make racing even more eco-friendly!

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