Synthetic fuels – future of F1, says Nico Rosberg, former World Champion

Synthetic fuels
  • In an interview with Tania Bryer, Nico Rosberg called e-mobility “the way forward.”
  • Rosberg’s remarks come at a time when most industrialized economies are seeking to reduce road-based transportation’s environmental footprint.

The use of Synthetic Fuels

According to Nico Rosberg, synthetic fuels are the future of Formula One. They could serve as a connection to electric mobility, according to the former world champion.

Rosberg also backed e-mobility in an interview with the Sustainable Future Forum last week. He called it “the way forward,” but acknowledged that the industry was not without its hurdles.

Rosberg’s remarks on synthetic fuels follow F1’s announcement that it will “assist in the development of a 100 percent sustainable fuel” that can be used in regular internal combustion engines.

F1 said the lab-created fuel would utilize “components from a carbon capture scheme, municipal garbage, or non-food biomass” in a statement released in early October. It would save “at least 65 percent in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil-derived gasoline.”

Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Rosberg, who won the title in 2016, now characterizes himself as a “sustainable entrepreneur” in his interview. He predicted that electric mobility would take decades to enter emerging markets.

“If we could somehow build a bridge there… with synthetic fuels, it might have such an enormous worldwide impact,” he remarked. “And if Formula One can contribute to it, I’ll be ecstatic.”

Rosberg’s remarks come at a time when industrialized economies are seeking to lessen the environmental impact of vehicle travel.

By 2030, the United Kingdom, for example, aims to phase out the sale of new diesel and gasoline vehicles and vans. Starting from 2035, all new vehicles and vans will be required to have zero tailpipe emissions.

In other news, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions from automobiles and vans by 100% by 2035.

Electric Vehicles and the Associated Challenges

In general, on the electric vehicle sector, Rosberg said: “E-mobility is the best way forward, certainly, but challenges prevail.”

“Battery manufacturing — and particularly battery recycling — is going to be a big challenge … but also a huge business opportunity,” he added.

Efforts are already being made to address what to do with batteries. In 2020, for instance, Norsk Hydro and Northvolt set up a joint venture called Hydrovolt.

The overarching goal of Hydrovolt is to deploy a hub for batteries recycling in Norway, a country where adoption of electric vehicle is higher.

Operations at the facility — which will be able to process over 8,000 metric tons of batteries annually — are slated to commence this year.

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