Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team uses biofuel to cut emissions

Biofuel saves 90% of CO2 emissions per kilometre versus normal diesel. Credit | Mercedes-Benz
Biofuel saves 90% of CO2 emissions per kilometre versus normal diesel. Credit | Mercedes-Benz
As the most well-known sport in the world, Formula One shows how biofuel cuts emissions & pioneers change, says Toto Wolff, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

As internationally famous events are working to reduce their environmental impact — The Ryder Cup, Coldplay gigs, and motorsports to name a few — companies are innovating. 

 

Mercedes-Benz and PETRONAS are on track to meet the technical challenges of the new Formula 1 2026 Technical Regulations, which will have all cars powered by 100% Advanced Sustainable Fuels. 

 

This exciting endeavour presents a unique opportunity to  showcase the potential of Advanced Sustainable Fuels in the gruelling F1 environment, which serves as the ultimate testbed before taking the learnings and innovation to everyday road users. 

 

“Formula  One is the most well-known global sport in the world, so it is vital we can use our platform to pioneer change,” believes Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. Wolff has a history in motorsport racing himself, as well as co-owning his own racing driver management company.

 

“We can no longer compromise on the impact we have on our planet, and we need to adapt to reduce our emissions. We are a team of innovators and have an ambition to be  the world’s most sustainable sports team. Results like this show we are on the right track to  achieving that milestone with sustainable fuels central to the team’s strategy to achieve Net Zero. 

“This was a very complex project, and we extend our thanks to our Title and Technical Partner PETRONAS, and our logistical partners, who have worked so hard to deliver the results of this  challenging yet rewarding project.”  

 

Sustainable fuel powering the future of Formula 1

The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team have saved 339 tCO2e and reduced race and hospitality trucks and generator emissions by 67% through Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO100) biofuel use over the course of the 2023  Formula One European season. 

 

These impressive results exceeded the team's initial targets of 60% emissions reduction and 200 tCO2e saved.

 

HVO100 biofuel, which is made from 100% sustainably sourced renewable raw materials such as  waste oils and fats, can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the impact of freight on  local air quality. As a near zero-emission fuel, bioenergy is an important pillar of decarbonisation in the energy transition, with PETRONAS reporting that liquid biofuel consumption will need to quadruple by 2030 to get on track with the latest Net Zero goals — with road transport playing a critical role. 

 

“As a progressive partner enriching lives for a sustainable future, we will continue to rise to the challenge in meeting the demands of today and the future,” comments Datuk Sazali Hamzah, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS Downstream. Having joined the company in 1990 and with a background in engineering, Hamzah has managed multiple parts of the business.

“As Title and  Technical Partner to the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, we are driving the change in  support of Formula One’s aspiration of becoming Net Zero from factory to flag by 2030, achieved through on- and off-track initiatives. The accomplishment with the logistics team represents a  milestone that will serve as a foundation for further work at Grand Prix events held outside Europe.”  

“At PETRONAS, we place immense emphasis on innovation, and this is reflected in the work that  we do in our research and technology labs. We have been actively experimenting with a proxy for  Advanced Sustainable Fuel, with our goal to transition to a pilot testing phase by 2024 and 2025,  leading to the fuel production in 2026.”

 

Biofuel: Saving 90% of CO2 emissions per kilometre versus normal diesel

The bio fuelled trucks transport all the team’s freight required for  each race, while the generators power the team’s engineering and hospitality units in the  Formula One paddock. The vehicles travelled over 386,000km on HVO100 biofuel for, from a total distance travelled of 460,000 km, and 35% of all generator fuel used was HVO100, achieving an emissions reduction of 307 tCO2e, with the generators totalling 32 tCO2e emissions reduction. Every kilometre travelled on HVO100 saves 90% of CO2 emissions versus normal diesel.

 

The 2023 season sets the foundations for a future of biofuel use for the team as it drives towards full use of  HVO100 in our trucks in 2024 and increasing the use of HVO100 in its generators

 

The team will use the learnings from the 2023 season to continue to drive towards full use, alongside delivering efficiencies in the paddock to reduce our reliance on those generators. 

 

“We are  delighted to achieve such a positive set of results and reduce our freight and generator emissions  significantly over this season’s European races,” says Alice Ashpitel, Head of Sustainability at the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. Ashpitel has been leading sustainability at Mercedes-Benz since 2022, first as Sustainability Manager of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport before moving to Head of Sustainability in March 2023. Previously, she spent nearly six years in sustainability at construction company Mace.

“The use of biofuels is one of our key pioneering  initiatives as part of our overarching sustainability strategy for achieving Net Zero for our Race Team Controlled emissions by 2030.

“We had to overcome complex logistical hurdles on this project. To achieve such a significant  reduction in freight and generator emissions demonstrates the strong collaboration between the  team, PETRONAS and our logistics partners. This project marks a significant step forward and a  strong proof point supporting the wider adoption of HVO100 across sport, entertainment, and  logistics industries.” 

 

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