The Ferrari Formula 1 team has signed a contract to be supplied with second-generation ethanol from Raizen SA, a joint venture established by Shell and Cosan in Brazil.
In 2022, the team will introduce a 10% blend of ethanol into fuel, which feeds into the International Automobile Federation’s (FIA) plan for all Formula 1 cars to run exclusively on sustainable fuel by 2025.
Raizen’s second-generation fuel goes beyond its predecessor by being made from sugarcane bagasse, a non-food biomass that would previously have been discarded. This enables Raizen to get an extra 50% of ethanol production from the same planted area, as explained Ricardo Mussa, the CEO of Raizen, in a statement:
“We currently produce 4 billion litres of first-generation ethanol, so we could have [an] additional 2 billion litres of second generation with no increase in planted area.”
The company currently has the capacity to produce 40 million litres of this cellulosic ethanol annually, but a second factory is being built to increase this to 120 million litres.
Shell has a history of testing its fuel and lubricant products on the racetrack, and the same will likely apply to Raizen’s ethanol technology. The deal may also give the Ferrari team a competitive advantage, according to István Kapitány, a Vice President of Shell Mobility, when he spoke to Reuters, adding:
“We will not supply second-generation ethanol to the other teams.”
Kapitány added that second-generation ethanol will be rolled out to retail customers later, however. In the UK, most petrol blends on the forecourt currently have a 10% ethanol content to help reduce emissions.