INDYCAR Goes to 100% Renewable Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

2007 Indy 500 green flag sports “e” for ethanol

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES announced over the Indy 500 weekend that the 2023 season will be powered by 100% second-generation ethanol derived from sugarcane waste made in Brazil.

Shell will produce a new race fuel “that is 100% comprised of feedstocks categorized as “renewable” under the applicable regulatory frameworks.”

The fuel developed by Shell is set to make the NTT INDYCAR SERIES the first United States-based motorsports series to power racing with 100% renewable race fuel and enables at least 60% greenhouse gas emissions reduction compared to fossil-based gasoline. “This race fuel development for INDYCAR is a great example of how fuels technology is pivotal in helping decarbonize the sport,” said Dr. Selda Gunsel, president of Shell Global Solutions. “Today’s development takes us one step closer to that goal.”

The second-generation ethanol will be sourced from Raízen, a Brazilian Joint-Venture created in 2011 by Shell and Cosan. Raízen is one of the largest sugarcane ethanol producers in the world and owner of the first commercial second-generation ethanol plant.

It was 15 years ago in 2007 that the Indy Racing League first started using 100% American made fuel grade ethanol instead of petroleum-based methanol. That was the result of efforts by the domestic ethanol industry, which at the time was riding a wave of popularity. Two years later the league made a deal with Brazil to supply the fuel, but switched to an 85 percent blend in 2012 which it has been since that time.

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