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Race Car Made With Veggies And Powered By Chocolate 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the mad-lib-motors dept.
IS4110 writes "A new racing car made with potatoes and carrots and powered with chocolate waste has been developed by the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre of the University of Warwicks in the UK. The university's vehicle, called WorldFirst F3 project, has a steering wheel made of curran, a material derived from carrots, that is expected to replace glass fiber and carbon fiber. It also has a racing seat made of SoyFoam, a soybean oil-based, flexible foam material. Wing mirrors incorporate materials derived from potato starch, a bib made from flax fiber, and lubricants based on plant oils."

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Race Car Made With Veggies And Powered By Chocolate

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  • by orclevegam (940336) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @01:56PM (#27692163) Journal
    Race called on account of rabbit attack.
  • by levell (538346) * on Thursday April 23, 2009 @01:56PM (#27692165) Homepage

    At the moment the carrot-based material "curran" used to make the steering wheel contains some carbon fibre. Fly-fishing rods made out of the material [carrotmuseum.co.uk] are 50% carbon fibre at the moment.

    The inventors are working to increase the percentage of carrot based material

    • The inventors are working to increase the percentage of carrot based material

      That's fine and all but I still think a meat based race car would prove to be far more impressive.

    • The inventors are working to increase the percentage of carrot based material

      And they better should. This sure sounds like green wash to me.

      So the seat, mirrors and steering wheel are partly made from materials that contain chemicals that are derived from carrots. Seriously. Wake me when they can industrially produce carbon-neutral engines, gearboxes, wheels, impact zones and, most of all, catalysers (which currently contain a lot of poisonous and expensive materials).

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Definitely a lot less impressive than those wood cars.
      • So the seat, mirrors and steering wheel are partly made from materials that contain chemicals that are derived from carrots. Seriously. Wake me when they can industrially produce carbon-neutral engines, gearboxes, wheels, impact zones and, most of all, catalysers (which currently contain a lot of poisonous and expensive materials).

        Back in the 1930s Henry Ford designed and built a car on his Iron Mountain estate that was something like this car. He didn't use carrots though, that I know of, instead he used

    • To create these materials ... And how many heavy metal catalysts (that are supposed to be recycled, but in practice cannot all be recovered from the reactor).

      And obviously how much oil-based fertilizer was used in growing the stuff in the first place.

      I wonder if this "green" car is as green as Al Gore.

    • Another way to read that article is "we are using the standard carbon fiber and resin to make a fly fishing rod. As a marketing gimmick, we dry carrots, grind them up into fine cellulose fibers, and use those as filler".
    • by icebike (68054)

      > The inventors are working to increase the percentage of carrot based material

      Why?

      Isn't carbon sequestration all the rage today?

      More carbon fiber please!

    • by fractoid (1076465)
      You can make carbon fibre out of burnt carrots.
  • Will a potato in the tailpipe still work, or will it operate as an afterburner? At least priming the tube with your mouth to syphon gas will be more pleasant now :D
  • And it may be something that we may see in other cars too, but using items from nature in our cars isn't really new.

    Up until the late 60's most material in our cars like seats and carpets were of material from nature. Coconut fibers were common, but that was replaced by foam material.

    Of course - it's the combination of material that's new and taken to a new level.

  • by mc1138 (718275) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @02:00PM (#27692231) Homepage
    To playing with your food...
  • Spinach? Broccoli? Beets? You'd certainly need a lot of whatever to get that much iron...that doesn't sound very environmentally friendly.
    • I've heard of some race cars having ceramic engines. Might be able to replace quite a few of the metal parts with ceramic materials? Although, I'm not sure that's really any better for the environment than metals.

      • I've heard of some race cars having ceramic engines. Might be able to replace quite a few of the metal parts with ceramic materials? Although, I'm not sure that's really any better for the environment than metals.

        Why do we even need to consider the ecological friendliness of car materials? I'm all for the environment, but it seems to me that what is most worthwhile is making things that last so any impact is amortized over time. As an added bonus, that means we'll still have something to drive after the

        • by JSBiff (87824)

          That's a good point - about the shock resistance and repairability. Plus, steel is recyclable fairly easily, so when cars get old, the metal can be melted and used to make new cars (or other goods). I don't think ceramics are easy to recycle?

          As for why we need to consider the ecological friendliness of car materials? Simple. There's 6+ billion people on this planet. Now, only a part of those can afford to buy cars, and are of an age to drive (that is, teens or adults), but I think the figures I've heard app

          • I guess I've just seen way too many 10 year old cars sitting in wrecking yards...and I've seen the dirty side of the recycling industry. Sure we put them into these nice shiny bins, but a lot of it ends up on the slow boat to China where it gets 'recycled' as in burned for it's metal content, since there are basically no environmental laws over there.
  • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @02:08PM (#27692341)
    They just made a 200+ MPH Trabant!
    • by CaptSlaq (1491233)

      They just made a 200+ MPH Trabant!

      The sheer insanity to even *think* of this idea is boggling. I like it. Make it happen.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        No problem all I need is a C-130.
        I remember when Airwolf was on TV. A friend of mine asked me, "How can you make a helicopter fly as superspeeds?" My answer was, "take it apart and put it in a Concord".

  • Ok the engine is not made by carrot or potatoes, or is it?
  • TFA: The project's goal is to prove that is possible to make a competitive racing car using environmentally sustainable and renewable materials.

    Competitive against what? Wind powered sail cars? They still haven't solved the basic problem that racing huge machines is wasteful no matter what you use to do it with. There is an opportunity cost to all those potatoes going uneaten.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by orclevegam (940336)
      Actually TFA points out that they opted for carrots due to the supply of non-food grade carrots available to them. What I'm waiting on thought is for our genetic engineering capability to achieve the state of not re-purposing existing biologic materials, but rather custom designing organisms to produce (or be) materials or products.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        What I'm waiting on thought is for our genetic engineering capability to achieve the state of not re-purposing existing biologic materials, but rather custom designing organisms to produce (or be) materials or products.

        In time, that could be a huge win. You could grow a spaceship hull melon, or a shovel tree. Today, with the problems people are having feeding themselves, it's an interesting research problem but not a good use of our natural resources. Right now projects like this (which make use of waste to replace the current materials with higher negative environmental impact) are precisely what is needed. In general we tend to make very poor use of natural resources; if we could all plant iPod trees we probably would,

  • by Dan Quayle (1539747) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @02:15PM (#27692495)
    Nothing beats a potatoe.
    • by daveime (1253762)

      1 Potato
      2 Potatoes
      3 ????
      4 Profit !

      Sorry, my grammar nazi tendencies are competing with my lame meme tendencies ... hence the resulting post.

  • ... would you smell vegetable stir-fry? In that case they should use soy sauce as coolant and peanut oil as engine lube.
  • how many fossil fuels did they burn making all the materials?

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @02:29PM (#27692729)

    What's the point of a project like this? I've seen plenty of stories in the form of "$TECHNOLOGICALLY_SOPHISTICATED_DEVICE made from $NATURAL_THING", and they're all useless gimmicks.

    These guys used some natural materials to build a car. So fucking what? Either the natural materials require so much processing that they're practically "artificial" materials (like the Curran steering column), things we've known how to do for years (like building seats out of foam), or things that just destroy the utility of an object.

    Furthermore, the production of these devices wouldn't be nearly as environmentally friendly if scaled up. How much fossil fuel would we expend growing the carrots for the steering columns, for example? I bet the carbon footprint wouldn't be much better than that of today's cars.

    You want to help the environment? Work on real technology, not cheap dead-end gimmicks.

  • World food prices drastically increased as corn was diverted to ethanol alt-fuel projects. It also led to increased rates of deforestation.

    If we are building every basic fabrication material from organic matter, doesn't that lead to an exponentially worse version of the same situation? I mean, how many viable sources of curran are there? And soy oil and potatoes? It sounds like a shopping list at your local organic grocer, which is great if you have a huge food surplus, but last I checked there were
  • for the Nascar grapes [zentu.net]
  • Be careful with this information because, if the FIA gets wind of it, there will be new sporting regulations in Formula One in 2010 on grounds of 'unsafe health advantages'.
  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @03:44PM (#27693873)

    Converting food into building material? Is this really a good idea?

    Right now, corn is being converted into fuel, in a very inefficient manner, only affordable because of massive government subsidies (the pump prices held down by pulling money out of your wallet through taxes). Corn once was a cheap staple for poor people worldwide. Corn prices have gone up because of this ethanol, which means more starvation worldwide.

    What will happen to other food prices if this keeps going on. How much will they subsidise the increased food prices, or are we going to have to start eating oil?

  • So, now we have the world's fastest carrot? Well I can't say that I hadn't always hoped for a borch soup on wheels...
  • The engine? And the fuel lines? And the tires? Come back to the real world where metal and plastics are still king.
  • Correction (Score:3, Informative)

    by julesh (229690) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @04:39PM (#27694631)

    the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre of the University of Warwicks in the UK

    That's the International Manufacturing Centre [warwick.ac.uk] (not "Innovative", and doesn't have "Research" in its name), which is at the University of Warwick [warwick.ac.uk] (not -s, which would be an abbreviation of Warwickshire).

  • huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    by arnodf (1310501)
    'waste chocolate'? I'm afraid I don't understand :s
  • by gadabyte (1228808) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @05:03PM (#27694955)

    It also has a racing seat made of SoyFoam, a soybean oil-based, flexible foam material.

    i've daydreamed about striking it rich with soybean based home insulation, mainly so i'd have an excuse to say "insoylation."

  • I suppose that this is the world's first vegan, edible automobile? If you get hungry while traveling, just nibble on the accessories! :-)
  • When will people stop thinking it's cool to find new ways of wasting food? Whilst Carbon Fibre may be expensive, at least it's not using up food (that is sorely needed in many parts of the world) to be made.
  • Allergies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Friday April 24, 2009 @07:54AM (#27700435) Homepage Journal

    What if someone is allergic to one of the many vegetables made, and does not know it, they should include epipin in there for the driver, who knows....who knows...

    Is there a special low carb sauce that can go with that to make it more appealing?

  • I do not play too many games. In my spare time I'm doing website, online film publication. sinema izle [sinema9.com]

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