Developing 100% renewable fuel for motorsport racing, TotalEnergies plans to showcase this product in the upcoming season of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours, and the European Le Mans Series (ELMS).
Races are a major driver of innovation: the extreme conditions and challenges encountered in endurance racing, such as race time and long distances, are constantly increasing the demand for the development of higher performance fuels. However, while developing these fuels, the new challenges posed by today’s change in energy and environmental issues also need to be considered.
In the production of this 100% renewable fuel, which will be produced on the basis of bioethanol and sold by TotalEnergies, wine pulp from the French agricultural industry and Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (ETBE), which is also produced from the raw material provided by the circular economy, will be used at TotalEnergies’ Feyzin refinery near Lyon (France). The fuel is expected to provide a significant reduction in CO2 emissions of race cars by at least 65%.
Dubbed the “Excellium Racing 100,” this fuel will open a new chapter for all actors involved in the endurance racing and motorsports energy transition. Designed to have all the qualities required for a racing fuel, the Excellium Racing 100 will leverage the expertise of TotalEnergies Additives and Fuel Solutions to meet both automakers’ requirements and the latest FIA World Endurance Championship criteria for sustainable fuels. Another important development is that the same team has designed the “Excellium Endurance” fuel, which currently contains 10% advanced bioethanol and is used in the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours this year.
Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, said: “Our aim is to be a key actor in the energy transition and to reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, together with the entire society.” “Sustainable liquid fuels, electricity, batteries, hybridisation, hydrogen… By applying its strategy to motorsport, TotalEnergies also supports the development of its customers and business partners. Advanced biofuels play an undeniable role in supporting the transport industry to rapidly reduce CO2 emissions. This 2022% renewable fuel, which will be available in motor racing as soon as 100, is a perfect example. As we at TotalEnergies grew into a large-scale energy company, racetracks became more prominently open-air labs for us than ever before.”
FIA President Jean Todt said: “Endurance racing, by its very nature, has always served as an excellent research and development platform, and the transition of the FIA World Endurance Championship to 100% sustainable fuel is an important milestone. The main objective of the FIA is to pave the way for CO₂ emission reduction by enabling the use of sustainable energy sources in its portfolio of motorsport disciplines. This aligns perfectly with our ‘Race to Road’ strategy as well as the FIA’s ‘Purpose Orientation’ approach.”
Pierre Fillon, President of Automobile Club de l’Ouest, made the following statements: “Increasing awareness of social and environmental issues in the last few years has forced the motor racing world to reflect on these issues as well. The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been a frequent testing ground for innovation since the first race in 1923. This exciting new development also fits perfectly with our founding principles. Our long-term partner TotalEnergies is channeling its expertise into developing sustainable solutions. This new, fully renewable fuel demonstrates our wholehearted commitment to corporate social responsibility. When it comes to sustainable development, we continue to take responsibility by fulfilling our promise to do our part for sustainable mobility.”
Frédéric Lequien, CEO of FIA WEC & ELMS, commented: “It is extremely encouraging that TotalEnergies is setting an example for others and creating a 100% renewable fuel. I am confident that WEC and ELMS are the ideal platform for TotalEnergies to try out their new and groundbreaking Excellium Racing 100 fuel. Endurance racing is the ultimate test for all road related products and we are delighted that TotalEnergies chose our championships and Le Mans to help launch this new cutting-edge product.”
Since 2018, TotalEnergies has been the partner and official fuel supplier of Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), creator and organizer of the Le Mans 24 Hours. TotalEnergies shares common values with ACO: pioneering spirit and commitment to performance. Since its first day, the Le Mans 24 Hours has served as a laboratory for many aspects of automotive development: safety, evolution in engine technology and fuels, aerodynamics, fuel consumption reduction, hybridisation…
The imminent launch of a 100% renewable fuel will reinforce this partnership between TotalEnergies and ACO in promoting new energies. TotalEnergies, the hydrogen partner of the ACO H24 Racing team, designed and built the first mobile hydrogen filling station to support Mission H24 in its race.
Said bioethanol, or enhanced ethanol, is an agricultural by-product. It is produced from residues from the wine industry, such as wine residue and grape pomace. After several steps (industrial fermentation, distillation and subsequent dehydration), this base is then blended with ETBE (Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), a separate by-product itself produced from ethanol, and various performance additives produced by TotalEnergies’ Excellium technology.