How is MotoGP renewable fuel made?


The team’s motorcycles Repsol Honda They have been working on the integration of renewable fuels for several years with good results, although currently the championship does not require their use. However, next season (2024) MotoGP regulations will require at least 40% non-fossil component in the fuels used by competition engines.

And, based on the commitment of Dorna – the company that organizes the championship -, the International Motorcycle Federation (FIM) and the International Road-Racing Teams Association (IRTA) of reduce the carbon footprint generated in the circuitsjust three years later 100% of fuels must be renewable.

To make this rapid transition possible, advanced biofuels are being developed at the Repsol Technology Lab innovation center – located in Móstoles (Madrid) – to be used in the following editions of the MotoGP World Championship. They are made from biological waste of different origins: forestry, agri-food or from the organic fraction of urban solid waste, among others.

In essence, it’s the same work we do when we design a conventional competition fuel, where the focus is on optimizing a recipe of ingredients to maximize power delivery to the engine, now we also just focus on the raw material. and your carbon footprint”, explained Dolores Cárdenasexpert in Fuel Development at Repsol.

Thus, the renewable fuels designed and produced at the Repsol Technology Lab are “compatible with existing engines and existing refueling and logistics systems”, according to Cárdenas. Therefore, a major advantage of this type of renewable fuel compared to other non-fossil solutions is that it does not require any changes in logistics (refueling, distribution…) or in engines of different types of vehicles.

In addition, they are net zero emissions: the CO2 emissions produced when used in the engine are the same as those that previously had to be removed from the atmosphere to produce these fuels. Therefore, they are presented as one of the solutions available to achieve climate neutrality.

This is how they are made and tested

These new fuels are produced from biomass waste that meets the sustainability criteria set out in the European Renewable Energy Directive. This biomass, thanks to photosynthesis, is naturally responsible for removing CO2 from the atmosphere. As Cárdenas details, “They allow us to further reduce the carbon footprint of fuel and we support the circular economy using waste that can be sourced locally. To ensure this origin, the plant where we produce competitive renewable fuels is certified to monitor their sustainability.”.

For the next MotoGP season An estimated 10,000 liters of renewable fuel will be used comes from the Repsol Technology Lab, where they also have a single-cylinder research engine. This is a replica of the four-cylinder engine that the motorcycle has, almost unique in the world because there is only one at the headquarters in Saitama (Japan).

The fuel formulations are tested in this engine to check their behavior before they are sent to Japan for validation by Honda and subsequent use on the circuits next season.”, Cárdenas explained, adding that the Repsol Technology Lab develops “a unique test bed to evaluate our renewable fuels under extreme conditions and where our learning improves what we bring to market”.

In the coming months, Repsol’s advanced biofuels plant in Cartagena will be commissioned, with an industrial production capacity of 250,000 tons per year. A major step to expand the use of biofuels beyond sports competitions. And the tests that began a decade ago in circuits make it possible to speed up product development cycles for any type of vehicle for daily use.

Same performance as traditional fuels

Repsol Honda riders have verified on several occasions that advanced biofuels have the same competitive performance as traditional ones. And, moreover, they are absolutely necessary for the championship to be sustainable. As he assures Marc MárquezIn the tests I conducted on the track, I did not notice any difference when using biofuel, which is ultimately the goal: to maintain maximum performance.“.

His colleague, Joan Mirappreciated that “Thinking about advanced biofuels is thinking not only about the future, but also about the present. Repsol’s work is important to be competitive and mark the differences in relation to other rivals in the World Championship, and so that in the future the improvements we have achieved on the circuits can be delivered to all road users.”.

Source: La Verdad


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