Formula 1 team embraces sustainable working
Lotus is using PV panels to power its ‘driver in the loop’ simulator. Peter White reports
Lotus F1 chief executive Patrick Louis is committed to making his business ‘green’. While international motor racing body the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is working to reduce Formula 1’s impact – stringent regulations coming into effect in 2014 will see much smaller engines using much less fuel – Louis has turned his efforts to the company’s Oxfordshire research and development headquarters.
The ‘driver in the loop’ simulator allows the team to trial new components in a virtual form around the F1 circuits of the world. Huge amounts of computer power (details of which are a closely guarded secret) operate the system. Much of the electrical power for this newly-built facility comes from 128 photovoltaic (PV) panels on the building’s roof.
The system is installed using Trina Solar’s click-together panel-mount technology, TrinaMount, and delivers 30kWp of power, or 33,000kWh per year. It was initially estimated that the system would take five days to install, and would supply 75 percent of simulator power requirements. In fact, so far it has supplied more than 85 percent of the demand, and took just 9 hours (across two days) to install.
Speaking at the official unveiling of Trina Solar’s installation this week, Louis said “F1 will never be a green sport… forget it”. But he went on to point out that a single flight in a jumbo jet from London to New York is responsible for more carbon emissions than those from the all the cars competing in Formula 1 across a whole season. The PV installation at Enstone is just one of many of the company’s green initiatives.