No one can rightly argue that current iterations of either green power compare to the results from enriched fossil fuels. The problem, as the vigilant motorsports enthusiast may be aware, is that fossil fuels are a dwindling resource. While arguing that the use of fossil fuels in motorsport alone has a minimal environmental impact, it is the commercial motoring sector that essentially incentivizes manufacturers to support motorsport development.
HVO fuel is growing in popularity as an alternative to diesel in the industrial sector, whilst electric power seems to be the future of the commercial sector. Where does this leave the future of racing and competitive motorsport?
Biofuels And Racing
Biofuels make for a polarizing topic when it comes to high-performance racing. As you are probably aware, all fuels are not equal when it comes to performance. Biofuels are not yet at a point where they are ready to fuel a two-second zero to sixty racing beast.
On the other hand, we have electric power, which shows incredible promise when it comes to performance, albeit with one massive caveat. Despite exciting developments, the actual eco-sustainability of electric power is debatable.
Given Enough Time
Which power source would then win out in the world of high powered automotive sports? That is the billion-dollar question. You see, currently electric has the upper hand in performance, but without some giant leaps in the base tech, it isn’t a renewable energy source at all.
What Goes Unsaid
The majority of electric power generated globally is still fossil fuel dependent. This inconvenient fact means that in its current form, electric power is just a roundabout way of burning fossil fuel to power vehicles.
Why It’s Worse
The laws of thermodynamics pretty much enforce a simple principle of inefficiency in energy conversion. What this means is that every time you convert energy from one form to another, even when storing it, you lose a large chunk of the initially available energy.
Hence It’s Unsustainable
In its current form electric power, particularly when it comes to powering high-performance racing cars is, in fact, a worse source of carbon emission simply because of where that power comes from and how much of it is lost in the process.
Are Biofuels Better?
In a nutshell, yes, biofuels are largely beneficial as they are extensively more environmentally friendly than current methods of generating electric power. Again, the problem here is the payoff in performance, which is a deal-breaker for most motorsport enthusiast.
Could Biofuels Improve?
Everything can be improved upon; biofuels, as a science, have for a long time no longer been a matter of searching for eco-friendly biologically produced fuel sources. Suffice it to say; it could imaginable outperform traditional fuels one day.
The same can be said of electric power. It already has the lead in performance, so this tech hinges on the possibility of improved battery efficiency and the ability to generate clean energy. Put that way it seems the clear winning candidate, but not so fast.
Commerce Will Decide
While both technologies could, in theory become a feasible alternative, they are also equally likely to reach an as yet unforeseen barrier that places a limit cap on their ability to win out over the other. In the end, the winner will be decided by the commercial market as manufacturers direct their R&D at whichever tech the markets demand.