UK start-up Aquafuel Research is to power next year’s Formula E racecars with electricity generated from glycerol-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) generators.
Aquafuel Research’s modified diesel-engined CHP generators to combust glycerine, produced from salt-water algae. The generated electricity will be used to recharge the electric racecars.
“It’s a very innovative compound. It comes from algae so it’s a first generation compound and it uses glycerine so it has no CO2 emissions, no smoke, no noise, no smell,” said Formula E’s sustainability manger Julia Pallé.
As the technology is new, the generators will have to travel to every nine hosting places. “We can’t implement it in the country so we have to ship and transport it. But since we’re starting from scratch the first year we have to deal with what we have and in future seasons we hope to be able to produce on site,” said Pallé.
According to Aquafuel Research chief executive Paul Day, a salt water algal pond the size of Switzerland would meet the global energy demand. Algae do not compete with agricultural land like other biofuel feedstocks.
The first Formula E race will take place in Beijing, China, in September.