Intelligent Energy

Rappers, race cars and biofuels

Rappers, race cars and biofuels

Posting in Energy

It wasn't quite sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, but biofuels raced ahead over the weekend when a car driven by German hip-hopper Smudo completed the grueling 24-hour Nurburgring circuit on rapeseed oil.

It wasn’t quite sex and drugs and rock-and-roll, but biofuels kicked into high gear over the weekend when two cars including one driven by German rapper Smudo completed the gruelling 24-hour Nürburgring marathon.

The two cars used 100% biodiesel supplied by Finland’s Neste Oil, which processed the fuel from rapeseed, a yellow flowering plant known as canola in North America for a common variety grown there.

According to a Neste press release, the two cars were the only ones to operate on 100% biofuel at this year’s event, which ran Saturday through Sunday around Nürburgring’s approximate 15-mile course. Other biofuel cars blended with conventional fuels.

The Neste-powered cars used a 93% mix of Neste’sNExBTL brand, and 7% of its FAME fuel.

"Through the outstanding dedication and know-how of the team as well as the support of our partners, the Union for the Promotion of Protein Plants (UFOP) and Neste Oil with its NExBTL fuel, we were able to put the idea of greener racing into effect once again,” driver and rapper Smudo said after the race.

One of the two cars, an Audi A4 3.0 TDI Quattro (pictured, right) from the IKT Tuning Akademie team placed 97th out of about 210, and 3rd in the alternative fuel category. The other – Smudo’s (above) - trailed far behind owing to what Neste called “technical problems with the engine electronics” that were “not fuel-related.”

After driving the first round of laps, Smudo - real name Michael Bernd Schmidt - flew his private Beechcraft Bonanza jet to southern Germany where he performed with his band Die Fantastischen Vier, before returning to Nürburgring for his second stint behind the wheel. He then dashed off to rap in Luxembourg, we're told. We admire his energy, even if it doesn't all appear to be fossil-fuel free.

Next up: Neste itself  should soon take to the skies, as German airline Lufthansa will use a 50/50 blend of Neste biofuel and hydrocarbon-based jet fuel to power daily flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt. Presumably professional pilots, not rappers, will be in the cockpit.

Note: This post updates an earlier version, adding Smudo's energetic travel itinerary.

Photos: Top, Neste Oil. Bottom, Jochen Merkle

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Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure