University creates chocolate-fueled vegetarian racecar

  • 08-May-2009 05:06 EDT
Warwick hi res.jpg

The WorldFirst F3 racecar is with some of the environmentally sustainable materials used to create it.

A "grow your own" racecar has been designed and developed by Warwick University in the U.K. Billed as the WorldFirst Formula 3 (F3), it is the culmination of a yearlong project to demonstrate that the cost and finite resources consumption of vehicles, including racecars, can be drastically changed via the use of recycled material and green disciplines.

Revealing details of the car, the structure and components of which use carrot- and potato-derived material and has a biodiesel engine that burns fuel refined from waste chocolate, Dr. Steve Maggs said: "The project clearly demonstrates that automotive environmentalism can and should be about the whole package and to have a strategy that stretches throughout the chain from raw materials to the final disposal of the car."

Although the global auto industry is moving toward increased use of green materials, researchers at the university wanted to demonstrate what results an integrated approach could achieve. They decided on a racecar because of the cost difficulties some Formula One teams have been facing, with doubts by some sponsors about the commercial value of their involvement, which then poses questions about the sport’s viability.

The ultragreen F3 project has seen the university’s Warwick Manufacturing Group and the Warwick Innovative Research Center building what they term a competitive racecar using environmentally sustainable components to show the auto industry what can be achieved. The car meets all F3 racing standards with the exception of the engine.

Its performance figures include a 233-km/h (145-mph) top speed.

Dr. Kerry Kirwan, a member of the university’s WorldFirst team, said: "Components made from plants form the mainstay of the car’s makeup, including a race-specification steering wheel derived from carrots and other root vegetables, a flax fiber and soybean oil foam racing seat, a woven flax fiber bib, plant oil based lubricants, and a biodiesel engine configured to run on fuel derived from waste chocolate and vegetable oil. It also incorporates a radiator coated in a groundbreaking emissions-destroying catalyst."

Hemp, potato starch, and recycled materials were also used to create the car.

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