Main content | back to top
News and Media Releases
Shell highlights engine oils' unsung role in fuel efficiency
Pressure to take action to improve fuel economy in transport is widespread. Shell’s fuel economy student competition, called the Shell Eco-marathon, is a visible demonstration of Shell’s interest in tackling this collaboratively with students, partners and the public. This year, Shell, in particular, highlighted the unsung role of engine oils in improving the fuel efficiency of a vehicle. Many are aware of the role of cleaner fuels and advanced engines but fewer people are aware of the contribution made by engine oils in the efficiency equation. In fact, engine oils can make a difference of up to 2% .
Selda Gunsel, Vice President of Lubricants Technology at Shell, said “Our technologists have been investing significant resources to create innovative lubricants, including engine oils, to unlock greater fuel efficiency in a vehicle. Lubricants are in contact with almost all parts of the engine and can significantly contribute to fuel economy gains today. The lower the viscosity of the oil, the less fuel an engine needs to use to overcome its resistance. The challenge is to determine the lowest viscosity which still provides the right level of engine protection and durability.”
This year, at the Shell Eco-marathon 2013 series, Shell engaged students on the topic of engine oils and vehicle efficiency through tribology – the science behind lubrication, friction and wear.
In Asia (Kuala Lumpur) and Europe (Rotterdam), a new off-track award was introduced to encourage students to think about engine oils as an important component of their vehicle’s efficiency: The Shell Helix Tribology Award.
Students used lubrication principles, friction equations and tribology concepts to explain how they took full advantage of the fuel efficiency gains provided by engine oils in their vehicles. The winners were judged by lubrication technology experts from within and outside Shell.
At the Shell Eco-Marathon event in the Americas, Shell reached out to students through an interactive Tribology Speed Matching session. Coming from the idea of “speed dating,” participants moved from table to table within timed segments discussing potential solutions for the efficiency challenge using lubricants. The best idea was voted the winner by all participants.
Norman Koch, Global Technical Director for Shell Eco-marathon, said, “Tribology is here to stay at the Shell Eco-marathon events and we are excited by the innovative ideas we have already seen and those that are yet to come.”
The choice of engine oil can make a real difference to the fuel economy of a vehicle. Shell’s premium products are formulated to have benefits such as helping to increase fuel efficiency, improved cleansing technology and extended oil change capability. Shell’s premium engine oils are Shell Helix (available in all markets except for North America) and Pennzoil (available only in the Americas). All student teams were provided with these products for use at the 2013 Shell Eco-marathon events.
The first ever winners of the Shell Helix Tribology Award - Baldos III from Lulea University of Technology (Sweden)
Shell Lubricants Global: Mallika Desai, +6565052683 (Singapore); email@example.com
Shell Media Relations (International): +442079345550
A selection of supporting images (photos and video) of the tribology sessions and award winners are available on request.
Notes to editors
Shell Eco-marathon 2013
- Shell Eco-marathon is a global programme that challenges high school and university student teams to design, build and test the most energy-efficient vehicles.
- With annual events in the Americas, Europe and Asia, this innovation competition pushes future scientists and engineers to travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.
- This year the events were held in Houston (Americas) in April, Rotterdam (Europe) in May and Kuala Lumpur (Asia) in July (Note: Asia event was cancelled due to haze but awards still given out). Over 5,000 students from almost 500 teams and 45 countries were picked to participate in the 2013 season.
- Visit http://www.shell.com/global/environment-society/ecomarathon.html to learn more about these events.
Shell Helix Tribology Award
- The inaugural Shell Helix Tribology Award in 2013 gave the competing student teams a first formal opportunity to consider efficiency gains from using lubricants in their own Shell vehicle design.
- Students were asked to look into managing friction in all parts of their vehicle using a Tribology lens to further improve their final SEM 2013 on-track (km/litre) result.
- Student teams could nominate themselves for this off-track award by submitting a report of no more than 1,500 words on how they used Lubrication Engineering principles in their vehicle to improve its fuel economy.
- The judging criteria for the award was as follows:
- Quantifying the impact of lubrication on vehicle performance.
- Modification of engineering designs as result of understanding tribological impacts.
- Application of computer modelling and/or calculations to determine engine/vehicle friction.
- Maximising fuel economy credit for all potentially lubricated components.
- Consideration of lubricant selection and design.
- Demonstration of understanding of concept design limits.
- Consideration of Health Safety Environment (HSE) implications of lubricant choice.
- The winners of the award this year were:
- SEM Europe: Team 505 – Baldos III, Lulea University of Technology (Sweden): The team worked to realise fuel efficiency gains across the complete drive-train covering the engine, gearbox and wheel bearings of their UrbanConcept Ethanol powered vehicle. They also looked at the best choice and amount of lubricant in the right operating conditions for efficiency; they insulated their engine to ensure correct oil temperature.
- SEM Asia: ITS Team 2 #3004 from the Sepuluh Nopember Technology Institute in Bahasa Indonesia. This team displayed their thorough understanding of lubrication principles and their impact on their UrbanConcept biodiesel (FAME) vehicle performance. They selected their lubricant based on this knowledge and made a conscious link to fuel economy, making active alterations to their car.
Tribology Speed Matching Session
- Speed Matching, which was originally developed by Shell GameChanger (http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/innovation/game-changer.html ), is often used by Shell to stimulate innovative thinking and technical collaboration at organisations such as NASA – responsible for the United States civilian space programme, aeronautics and aerospace research – and Eli Lilly, the 10th largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
- The Tribology Speed Matching session in Houston during SEM Americas was led by Dr. Allie Falender, Shell Innovation Technology Manager and Dr. Wei Yuan, Shell Lubricants Engineer.
- The winning idea was from Adam Fink from St. Paul’s School in Louisiana (USA) and Jonathan Acsenault from the University of Moncton (Canada). Their idea was to design an electromagnetic bearing combined with a compressed liquid containing microscopic pieces of metal to fill in the microscopic abnormalities in the bearing. The compressed liquid would act as a lubricating agent in the bearing.
Shell Lubricants Partnerships
- Shell Lubricants technologists have been investing significant resources into the field of Tribology to create innovative lubricants that can unlock greater fuel efficiency in a vehicle.
- They work closely with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Hyundai and Rio Tinto to lead the charge in developing advanced lubricants for specific industries.
- Shell Lubricants also works with academic institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, Imperial College in London, UK and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China to further develop the field of Tribology.
- Engaging students is one part of this wider collaborative effort to produce innovative and efficient lubricant formulations for our customers.
About Shell lubricants
The term ‘Shell Lubricants’ collectively refers to Shell Group companies engaged in the lubricants business. Shell sells a wide variety of lubricants to meet customer needs across a range of applications. These include consumer motoring, heavy-duty transport, mining, power generation and general engineering. Shell’s portfolio of lubricant brands includes Shell Helix, Shell Rimula, and Shell Spirax. We are active across the full lubricant supply chain. We manufacture base oils in eight plants, we blend base oils with additives to make finished lubricants in almost 70 plants, and we distribute, market and sell lubricants in over 100 countries.
We have more experts talking to more customers than any other lubricants supplier. We have over 350 technical support specialists and 1,000 sales professionals working with customers every day. We offer a wide range of services in addition to our products, including Shell LubeMatch, a market leading online tool that matches lubricants to vehicles and equipments, and Shell LubeAnalyst, an early warning system that enables our business customers to monitor the condition of their equipment and lubricant, helping to save money on maintenance.
Shell’s world-class technology is applied in our products and technological collaborations. We have four leading lubricants research centres in Germany, the UK, the USA, and Japan (in a joint venture with Showa Shell) with more than 200 scientists and engineers dedicated to lubricants research and development.
We have 150 + patent series for lubricants, base oils and greases. One of the ways we push the boundaries of lubricant technology is by working closely with top motor racing teams such as Scuderia Ferrari and Penske Racing. These technical partnerships enable us to expand our knowledge of lubrication science and transfer cutting-edge technology from the racetrack to our commercial products.
The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this release “Shell”, “Shell group” and “Royal Dutch Shell” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them.
These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. ‘‘Subsidiaries’’, “Shell subsidiaries” and “Shell companies” as used in this release refer to companies in which Royal Dutch Shell either directly or indirectly has control, by having either a majority of the voting rights or the right to exercise a controlling influence. The companies in which Shell has significant influence but not control are referred to as “associated companies” or “associates” and companies in which Shell has joint control are referred to as “jointly controlled entities”.
In this release, associates and jointly controlled entities are also referred to as “equity-accounted investments”. The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect (for example, through our 23% shareholding in Woodside Petroleum Ltd.) ownership interest held by Shell in a venture, partnership or company, after exclusion of all third-party interest.
This release contains forward-looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Royal Dutch Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements.
Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Royal Dutch Shell to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as ‘‘anticipate’’, ‘‘believe’’, ‘‘could’’, ‘‘estimate’’, ‘‘expect’’, ‘‘intend’’, ‘‘may’’, ‘‘plan’’, ‘‘objectives’’, ‘‘outlook’’, ‘‘probably’’, ‘‘project’’, ‘‘will’’, ‘‘seek’’, ‘‘target’’, ‘‘risks’’, ‘‘goals’’, ‘‘should’’ and similar terms and phrases.
There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this release, including (without limitation):
(a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell’s products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions;
(i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including potential litigation and regulatory measures as a result of climate changes; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions.
All forward-looking statements contained in this release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional factors that may affect future results are contained in Royal Dutch Shell’s 20-F for the year ended 31 December, 2012 (available at www.shell.com/investor and www.sec.gov - opens in new window).
These factors also should be considered by the reader. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this release, 12 August 2013. Neither Royal Dutch Shell nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information.
In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this release. There can be no assurance that dividend payments will match or exceed those set out in this release in the future, or that they will be made at all.
We use certain terms in this release, such as resources, that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in filings with the SEC. U.S. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website www.sec.gov. You can also obtain these forms from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330