Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Indy 500 race cars showcase green fuels

Date:
September 9, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Summary:
Mention cars that get barely 3 miles to a gallon and are built for speed rather than cleanliness, and images of gas-guzzling, pollution-belching menaces burning leaded gasoline or nitro may spring to mind. But experts today described how ethanol blends used as fuel in the race cars of the Indianapolis 500 actually make those emissions cleaner than cars on the street.

Mention cars that get barely 3 miles to a gallon and are built for speed rather than cleanliness, and images of gas-guzzling, pollution-belching environmental menaces burning leaded gasoline or nitro may spring to mind. But experts at a major scientific meeting today described how ethanol blends used as fuel in the race cars of the Indianapolis 500 actually make those emissions cleaner than cars on the street.

They spoke at a symposium entitled "The Chemistry of Racing," part of the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Indresh Mathur, Ph.D., who gave one of the talks, explained that cars on streets and highways in the U.S. run on a mixture of 90 percent unleaded gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. Race cars in the Indianapolis 500 burn mostly fuel-grade ethanol. This year the Indy 500 switched to a fuel containing 85 percent ethanol as opposed to 100 percent fuel ethanol. This makes the Indy fuel close to the real-life E-85 fuel sold at some U.S. gas stations.

"Fueled with mostly ethanol, these race cars burn more fuel cleanly and release mainly carbon dioxide and water vapor into the air," said Mathur. "Even without the catalytic mufflers, there are much lower emissions of air pollutants that can have adverse effects on human health and promote the formation of smog."

Mathur, who is with Johann Haltermann Ltd., in Houston, said those include PAHs -- polycyclic aromatic compounds that exist naturally in the crude oil that becomes gasoline have been largely responsible for particulate matter emissions. The Indy fuel blend of E-85 sets a good example of the use of an alternative fuel use under very demanding engine conditions. It is a fertile ground for engineers to perfect the E-85 vehicle technology that can be leveraged into street vehicles.

Studies have shown that using fuels composed of more than 85 percent ethanol reduce a variety of air pollutants. These include sulfur emissions (80 percent lower), carbon monoxide (40 percent), particulate matter (20 percent), VOCs (15 percent) and nitrogen oxides (10 percent).

Timothy Ruppel, a fuel expert at PerkinElmer in Oak Brook, Ill., described testing procedures to ensure that every truckload of racing fuel delivered to the track has the same chemical composition. For the Indy 500, Ruppel said, nearly 100 samples are tested for the first two weekends of qualifications, and the top 12 finishers are tested after the race is over.

Motor oil, which can have a significant impact on a car's performance, also undergoes tests to ensure that it meets track specifications.

"Some racing fuels today still use lead compounds for boosting the octane rating of the fuel," said Mathur. "No lead is allowed in street fuel. By contrast, the racing fuel can be leaded and may vary according to the requirements of the race sponsoring authority. For environmental reasons, this lead should be eliminated. Perhaps there should be more diesel-fueled racing cars and racing cars fueled by renewable and 'green' fuels."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society (ACS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society (ACS). "Indy 500 race cars showcase green fuels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909162025.htm>.
American Chemical Society (ACS). (2013, September 9). Indy 500 race cars showcase green fuels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909162025.htm
American Chemical Society (ACS). "Indy 500 race cars showcase green fuels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909162025.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins