Five Awesome Things You Won't Believe Run on Biofuel Five Awesome Things You Won't Believe Run on Biofuel
Five Awesome Things You Won't Believe Run on Biofuel
Some people associate biofuels—those derived directly from renewable biological resources—with long hair and environmentalism, and that’s fine! In fact, you’ll see Mr. Willie Nelson featured prominently on our list. But with innovations in renewable fuels made every day, biofuel is popping up in some unexpected, exciting, and high-performance places. Here's a list of a few of the most remarkable.
1. NASCAR has run on E15 ethanol-based biofuel since 2010 when it began running practice and qualifying laps with the green fuel. No significant modifications were made to the cars in order to run on E15, and the low-carbon fuel emits 20% less greenhouse emissions than unleaded gasoline. NASCAR claims to have seen improvements in performance, with a 5 to 10 percent increase in horsepower depending on the race and the conditions.
2. The Royal Train that Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales use on long journeys around the United Kingdom has run on biodiesel derived from used cooking oil since 2007. The train is capable of speeds up to 125 mph, but restricted to 100 mph when on royal duty.
3. The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels air show that wowed crowds at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo in Maryland last year was powered by a 50/50-blend of jet fuel and camelina-based biofuel. Camelina is a drought resistant crop that can be used as a rotation crop for wheat. Sustainable Oils, the company providing the fuel to the military, says camelina-based biojet fuel reduces CO2 emissions by 75 percent over traditional petroleum-based jet fuel. By 2016, the Navy plans to deploy the Great Green Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike group powered entirely by non-fossil fuels.
“As public representatives of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the Blue Angels take pride in leading the country’s efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase our energy security,” said Capt. Greg McWherter, Blue Angels commanding officer/flight leader.
4. Formula One Race Cars: In 2010, Scuderia Ferrari, the racing team division of the Ferrari automobile marque, began using a blend of biogasoline and next-generation ethanol sourced from straw. Virent, the Wisconsin company that produces the biogasoline portion of the blend, says its energy content is the same as or better than premium gasoline and can be blended seamlessly into conventional gasoline. Virent also says the sugars can come from non-food sources such as corn stover, wheat straw, and sugarcane residue, as well as conventional biofuel feedstocks like sugar beet, corn, wheat, or sugarcane. A Formula One race car running on biofuel isn't just a n the environment. Like NASCAR, Formula One teams are focused on winning, and a nod to biofuels from this group is a nod to the performance potential of biofuel.
5. Willie Nelson’s Tour Bus has run on biofuels since 2004 when Nelson's wife bought a diesel Volkswagon that ran on vegetable oil. He was so impressed with the performance of the fuel that he got a Mercedes diesel right away. Willie even has his own biofuel, BioWillie, named in his honor. As the video below shows, Willie Nelson’s tour bus is fueled by local biofuel wherever he goes with the help of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, a nonprofit group cofounded by his wife Annie Nelson.
The biofuels in this list are made from a wide variety of raw materials, otherwise known as “feedstocks.” Some forms of biofuel, like Green Crude and waste grease biodiesel, are considered “drop-in” biofuels. In other words, they can be used as a direct replacement for fossil fuels in a machine’s existing engine. Other forms of biofuel, like ethanol, are considered "alternative" fuels. They do not replicate the chemical properties of fossil fuels and therefore require blending with conventional fuels like gasoline in order to be used by a typical combustion engine.
Biofuels are domestically produced, renewable sources of energy that burn cleaner than fossil fuels. The playing field for emerging advanced biofuels is wide, and there are plenty of competing technologies and methods. It remains to be seen what the future holds for these individual forms of biofuel in the U.S., but it seems clear that biofuels in general hold much promise as a fuel source that could eventually ease our nation’s dependence on oil.
Nicole Rogers is a writer and the editor of the Sustainable America blog, which focuses on the link between food and fuel in the United States.
The Landscape Artist An interview with Daan Roosegaard Daan Roosegaarde’s interactive designs push human beings beyond the topography of the self.
What if Simply Playing Soccer Could Power a Whole Village? Uncharted Play's Soccket balls ingeniously turn kinetic energy into electric current.
Next Time You're at a Pretentious Exhibition, Just Change It Güvenç Özel shows how a digital solution can augment a physical problem.
A Mosaic Shines in Philly A intimate conversation with a fixture of the Philadelphia art world.
Zaha Hadid Had a Busier Week Than You Did A posh homeware line, a math-inspired museum wing, and a blossom-shaped apartment building
London Skaters Fought Gentrification, and Won A coalition of skateboard enthusiasts just saved the birthplace of British skate culture from a future as a shopping center.
“What I Would Like to See is More Bystanders Stepping in to Take Action” The Everyday Sexism Project chronicles more than 80,000 instances of sexism around the world, and it’s making a big policy impact.
It's Not Where You're Going, It's How you Get There The future of transportation is now A look at futuristic forms of transportation that have become reality.
Inside the Minds of 11-Year Olds From Around the World A new documentary probes the special moral clarity of 11-year old children.
This Underwater Museum is Bringing a Coral Reef to Life A collaborative effort spurs a marine project off the coast of Egypt.
“French Navy” and Other Suggestions for Scotland’s New National Anthem EDM, art rock, indie ballads … let’s pretend it’s all on the table if Scotland votes for independence.
How a 17th Century Bible is Helping to Revive a Native-American Language One human language may die every 14 days, but the ancenstral tongue of M.I.T.-trained linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird won't be one of them.
The Daily GOOD
Get our daily dose of information and inspiration. Sign up Now ›