Environmental Protection

Flax Car is Fast, Runs on Chocolate and Animal Fats

Kerry Kirwan, Ph.D., at the University of Warwick, has led the research team that has designed and built the world's first fully sustainable Formula 3 racing car.

The car is made from woven flax, recycled carbon fiber, recycled resin, and carrot pulp for the steering wheel. It runs on biofuel made from chocolate and animal fats and is lubricated with plant oils. But it's not just an environmentally friendly car, it is also fast. The car has a top speed of 135 mph, can achieve 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is turbo charged to give it more torque.

Having got the seal of approval from such drivers as Lewis Hamilton and Adam Carroll as well as F1 team boss Ross Brawn, the car will make its first competitive debut in the Formula 3 Championship final at Brands Hatch on Oct. 17. The team hopes to prove that high performance, competitive cars can be built from sustainable materials.

According to Kirwan, the idea behind the project is to show that "being sustainable and green can be incredibly sexy, fun and fast." He goes on to say that even though people's perception of motorsport is that it's wasteful, this project is "aiming to show ways for the future, for people to race and be green."

"Racing Green," a video of the car in action can be found at IMPACT! World. The Web site also features a variety of other films and case studies highlighting the impact of science and research technology in the United Kingdom and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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