Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A race car that runs on chocolate

No, this is not the teaser for a new Willy Wonka movie. Developers in the UK have designed and produced a Formula One race car constructed from bio-materials like carrots, potatoes, flax fiber and soybean oil. And it runs on a mixture of waste chocolate and vegetable oil!

Developed at the University of Warwick's Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre, the WorldFirst vehicle incorporates a cornucopia of green technologies, including a steering wheel derived from carrots, a foam racing seat that uses flax fiber and soybean oil, a bib made from flax fiber, lubricants based on plant oils, and an "emission-destroying catalyst."

The project team says their biomaterials approach was spurred by a need to reduce costs and impact for performance auto racing. According to their website,

Following the recent turmoil in Formula 1 arising from the high costs of running competitive motor racing teams, and doubts in sponsors minds over the commercial value of their involvement, the viability of motor racing is being critically questioned. With this in mind the Warwick Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (WIMRC), part of Warwick University, are seeking to prove to the motor industry that it is possible to build a competitive racing car using environmentally sustainable components. 

No details were available on the performance of the car, but developers promise full Formula One speeds from their bio-friendly design.