Aston University

Second-generation biofuels could power private cars

Aston University and Drayson Racing are to investigate second-generation biofuels in order to create high-performance cars with reduced CO2 emissions.

According to Aston, next-generation biofuels are seen to provide one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing the CO2 emissions of internal combustion engines over the next two decades. The extreme conditions experienced in motor racing are seen as offering a platform for developing this fuel — made from waste biomass rather than food crops — to a wider audience.

The partnership will focus on the production of second-generation biofuels from sources such as organic waste; improve the stability and reliability of second-generation biofuels; and enhance the ability of high-performance engines to optimise performance.

The partnership will also look at developing materials for use in fuel pumps and other areas that are capable of surviving a highly aggressive biofuel environment.


Lord Drayson, managing partner of Drayson Racing, said: ‘Road transport accounts for 25–35 per cent of CO2 emissions in developed countries and the major source of these emissions is private cars. We are keen to apply what we have learnt on the track to novel products that will improve the performance of future vehicles while reducing their carbon impact.’

Debuting in 2009, Drayson Racing proved the effectiveness of its 200mph (322kph) Flex-Fuel race car by achieving the first-ever international pole and win for a bio-ethanol-fuelled race car in the American Le Mans Series endurance race at Road America in August 2010.