According to Niko Rosberg, the future of Formula 1 lies with synthetic fuels. The former world champion told CNBC that they have the potential to be a bridge to electromobility.
In an interview with CNBC’s Tania Brier during the Sustainable Future Forum last week, Rosberg also supported e-mobility, calling it a “step forward,” but acknowledging that the sector is facing challenges.
Rosberg’s comments on synthetic fuels came after F1 announced plans to “help develop a 100% sustainable fuel” that could be used in standard internal combustion engines.
In a statement in early October, F1 said the laboratory fuel will use “components that come from either a carbon capture system, municipal waste, or non-food biomass.” This will achieve “savings in greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline derived from fossil fuels, at least 65%.”
In an interview with CNBC, Rosberg, who won his title in 2016 and now calls himself a “sustainability entrepreneur,” said it would be decades before e-mobility penetrated emerging markets.
“If we could potentially build a bridge there … with synthetic fuels, it could have such a huge impact around the world,” he said. “And if Formula 1 can play its part, I will be very, very proud.”
Rosberg’s comments come at a time when large developed countries are trying to reduce the environmental impact of road transport.
The UK, for example, wants to stop selling new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030. From 2035, all new cars and vans will be required to have zero tailpipe emissions.
Elsewhere, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is aiming for a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 2035.
Regarding the electric vehicle sector in general, Rosberg said: “E-mobility is certainly the way forward, but there are challenges.”
“Manufacturing batteries – and especially recycling them – will be a big challenge … but also a huge business opportunity,” he added.
Attempts are already being made to decide what to do with the batteries. For example, in 2020, Norsk Hydro and Northvolt formed a joint venture called Hydrovolt.
Hydrovolt’s main goal is to establish a battery recycling center in Norway, a country where the introduction of electric vehicles is of great importance.
This year, operations are planned for a facility that will be able to process more than 8,000 metric tons of batteries per year.