Land speed record crumbles thanks to cheese

A team from Utah State University has broken a land speed record with a race car powered by cheese. Using a biofuel made from the industrial waste from cheese-making, the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A team from Utah State University has broken a land speed record with a race car powered by cheese.

Using a biofuel made from the industrial waste from cheese-making, the dragster broke records for a vehicle of its class when competing with 200 high-tech racers at the 2012 World of Speed event in Utah last month.

Lance Seefeldt, a Professor at USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry said: “Setting the land speed record in this vehicle’s class on sustainable biofuel produced at USU validates the technology in this important sector.”

At its top speed, the vehicle clocked in at 65.344 miles per hour – not record-breaking per se, except for the fact it was a biofueled vehicle with a one-litre, two-cylinder engine.

USU biochemist Alex McCurdy, a third-year doctoral student said: “Developing a biofuel on a large enough scale to run in the dragster was a tough undertaking. It’s one thing to produce a small amount in the lab and discuss how it will work in theory. It’s another to actually put it in a dragster, while everyone watches it take off.”

Biofuels have been criticised by some for competing with food resources but the USU said its fuels are a “renewable, low-footprint replacement for petroleum diesel and they don’t compete for food crops.”

The USU team raced the dragster in separate runs, using petroleum diesel first and then with the yeast biofuel. The speedster was able to match its second run with its previous petroleum-fueled drive.