Spectators and participants at Singapore’s Formula 1 Grand Prix (F1) might not be able to see, hear or feel the difference that locally-sourced and internationally-certified biodiesel – Used Cooking Oil Methyl Ester (UCOME) – is being used for the first time to provide a sustainable alternative fuel for the event by Singapore’s Alpha Biofuels.
Home-grown Alpha Biofuels has been contracted to provide clean and green biodiesel, even though initially it is just for one of the 136 diesel generators required to power up F1 facilities and services.
As one of the Sustainability Initiatives being introduced for the first time this year, Singapore GP confirms that it will work with Alpha Biofuels to trial a generator that is fully powered by B100 biodiesel – or UCOME – which will be used to power Food and Beverage (F&B) areas at Dockside in Zone 4.
Used cooking oil (UCO) is collected from F&B operators in the Marina Bay Street Circuit will continue to be collected by Alpha Biofuels and recycled into biodiesel. This practice has been in place since 2009.
Singaporean co-founders of Alpha Biofuels, Allan Lim, CEO, and Jack Ling, COO, know that their company which has operated since 2004, has scaled up to be in a position to provide much more of the energy needed for the power-hungry event.
“It is a great opportunity for us to show what can be done in a much more sustainable fashion by turning a local waste product into a useable fuel to help reduce the large carbon footprint of Singapore’s premier international event,” said Lim, when announcing his company’s F1 fueling contract.
He pointed out that for this year’s F1, Alpha will provide at least 3000 litres of locally produced biodiesel, which is verified as a genuine green fuel with International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) and audited by Bureau Veritas.
It is five times less emissions-intensive than diesel derived from fossil fuels.
In February this year, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported that by replacing fossil fuels with more sustainable alternatives to going electric where possible, the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix was “kicking climate action into higher gear”.
When the night race returns to the streets of Marina Bay this month – after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic – a full sustainability audit will also be conducted, which could see data such as the amount of carbon emissions and waste generated by the event being measured and reported for the first time.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and race organiser Singapore GP said in February that the audit will help to guide the development of other green initiatives that will be implemented over the next seven years under a renewed contract for Singapore to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The two parties will work together to reduce the carbon footprint of the Singapore race.
Singapore GP explained that the existing track lighting will be replaced with more energy-efficient LED lights from 2023, and that it will switch to electric or hybrid support vehicles where applicable.
The hope is to make the entire event one of the most environmentally sustainable street circuits in the F1 calendar, tying in with the championship’s goal of becoming net-zero by 2030.
Alpha’s COO Ling will be on hand throughout this year’s F1 event to not only manage the biodiesel fuel supply,but see where there are opportunities to do much more next year.
In July last year, Alpha Biofuels announced another pioneering clean energy move by powering ocean-going bulk carrier vessels for the first time, drawing on biodiesel made from UCO collected locally from food manufacturers, F&B businesses and households.
This was seen as paving the way for a switch to approved cleaner fuels to reduce the CO2 and life cycle emissions for the global maritime industry.
Singapore has come to realise, according to Lim, that the vegetable oils it cooks with at its UNESCO World Heritage listed hawker centre stalls, along with its highly regarded restaurants, doesn’t go down the drain into grease traps. It’s in demand locally and globally as a clean transport fuel.