Chile makes Dakar Rally 2011 the greenest in history

Solar power, recycling schemes and special biodegradable tableware are among the efforts being organized by the Fundación Imagen de Chile to make the international motor event the most environmentally sustainable ever.


The famous Dakar Rally motor race, running 5 to 12 Jan. through the Chilean Atacama Desert, will be the most environmentally friendly in its 32 year history thanks to innovative green measures put in place by the Fundación Imagen de Chile.

The eight day rally is the world’s most demanding cross-country motor race, with the 430 vehicles and their teams passing through 9,500 kilometers of terrain across northern Chile and Argentina.

The Fundación, a public-private organization responsible for the image and promotion of Chile,  hopes that the new sustainability measures will show the global media that a large-scale sporting event like the Dakar can be organized without sacrificing care for our environment.

The five official Chilean Dakar checkpoints have been given resources to generate their own renewable energy. The checkpoints, located in the cities of Copiapó, Antofagasta, Calama, Iquique and Arica, will be equipped with 16 solar panels generating 12 kilowatts of power per day, and the Chilean Association of Renewable Energy (Acera), which is managing the solar energy generation, has also donated a 1 kilowatt wind turbine.

Energy-saving measures are also in place for the race teams, who in their eight days on the road will use the amount of electricity required to power two houses in a day. The teams will be transported by a special truck from Chilean transport firm Transportes Tamarugal that will produce extra power as it travels between the checkpoints, storing the power in a package of 24 batteries.

Inside the Chilean checkpoints, where Chilean tourist board Sernatur and trade promotion body ProChile will provide tourist information and samples of typical Chilean produce, air conditioning units will be replaced with water diffusers, who use air currents more efficiently to reduce energy emissions.

The 50 tons of food consumed at the event will be eaten using biodegradable and recyclable tableware provided by food supplier Sodexo, in association with the Fundación.

The Universidad Santo Tomás in Santiago is also getting in on the act, providing five teams of 100 volunteers who will run environmental educational programs for the thousands of fans attending the event.

Finally, the Fundación has formed an agreement with local recycling agencies to ensure trash from the Dakar will be collected, sorted and disposed of in the greenest way possible.

Chilean driver Carlo de Gavardo, one of Latin America’s stars of the Dakar, is supporting the sustainability push and has become the public face of the Fundación’s campaign for a more sustainable rally.