Could Cowpower Replace Horsepower On The Rally Circuit?


Cow poop is a leading contributor of nitrous oxide and ammonia into the atmosphere, adding heartily to global warming. Cars, as we all know, provide their own fair share of noxious fumes to the environment. But a British team of engineers and racers is working on a way to kill two birds with one stone (metaphorically of course) by developing a race car that can run on cow poop.

Realizing that most technology found in our daily drivers was often first developed for the race track, Oaktec has announced plans to develop a manure-powered rally car, giving all new meaning to the phrase “This car runs like crap!” [ed. note: cow farts and burps contribute far more GHGs than poop, but hey, you gotta start somewhere]

Recent studies have shown that cow manure has been increasing nitrous oxide levels in the atmosphere since the late 19th century, long before the widespread use of nitrogen in agricultural development. It is a simple explanation that makes a lot of sense; we people eat lots of cows and drink lots of milk, requiring even more cows. All these cows make a lot of poop. That flatulence and poop gives off ammonia and nitrous oxide which is contributing to global warming.

Oaktec, a team of engineers from Lancashire, England, hopes to be the first team to utilize manure slurry and win a rally championship. The process, which has been gaining attention worldwide, uses fermented cow poop and anaerobic digesters to provide natural gas fuel. Rally racing is an intense form of motorsports that pushes car on-and-off road, and racers quickly figure out what does or doesn’t work. Oacktec has already developed hybrid-electric motors for Honda, so they plan on using a Honda Civic Hybrid to compete within a year.

Hybrid cars could have a unique advantage in rally racing, as their electric motors could provide lots of torque in the constant twisties, rocketing the car out of corners and shaving off precious seconds. Oaktec already has hybrid and rally experience, having built a Honda Insight rally car that has won 5 Class A Victories in the UK Formula 1000 Rally. That made them class champions in 2006. Make sure you check out Oaktec’s website for a detailed log rally racing history with hybrid cars.

I can’t believe I actually found a hybrid I like…

Source: FarmerGuardian via Bangshift | Oaktec

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.