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Natural gas for transport
With the number of people on our planet growing and more of us living in cities, our roads, ports and airports are busier than ever. A range of vehicles and fuels will be needed to help meet this growing demand for transport. In the future, Shell believes that natural gas could form a bigger part of the transport energy mix, alongside developments in areas such as greater vehicle efficiency, biofuels, hydrogen and electric mobility.
Natural gas could play an important role in helping to meet the world’s rising transport needs. It can be converted into different forms to power ships, trucks, buses and planes.
Liquefied natural gas
Cooling natural gas to around -162°C (-260°F) turns it into a liquid and shrinks its volume for easier shipment and storage. At Shell, we are exploring ways to broaden the use of LNG, from the traditional power generation sector to fuelling more of the world’s growing commercial transport fleets and vessels.
LNG also has the potential to be used in sectors such as rail and mining and we are looking at options to increase its use in our own operations.
LNG in the water
LNG is already being used as a fuel for vessels on inland waterways, such as ferries in Norway, and has the potential to be used more widely: by cruisers, ferries, barges and tug boats.
In Europe and North America new environmental regulations require shipping operators to reduce local emissions. LNG fuel, which is virtually free of sulphur and particulates, will help them meet these requirements.
We bought Gasnor, a leading LNG fuel company in Norway that supplies industrial and marine operators, as we work to deliver LNG to more customers. We also plan to charter the first inland barges to run purely on LNG, which will sail on the Rhine in 2013.
LNG on the road
Often trucks delivering goods across the globe run on diesel. LNG has the potential to offer significant fuel cost savings compared to conventional diesel. It can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from production to use, compared to conventional diesel and bio-diesel in new engines.
Burning LNG in spark-ignited engines is quieter than burning diesel in combustion engines. LNG-fuelled trucks can operate for longer where noise restrictions apply, for example delivering to supermarkets in residential areas.
Shell has focused its attention to date on the large-truck sector in both Canada and the USA. We are working to supply LNG along a truck route in Alberta, Canada, starting with three sites. We also intend to work with TravelCenters of America to provide LNG for truck fleets at truckstops across the USA.
Natural gas can be converted into a liquid fuel product, suitable for most modern, large diesel vehicles, without the need for modifications or new infrastructure.
We apply advanced technology at the Pearl GTL plant to turn natural gas into products that include GTL gasoil, a cleaner-burning alternative for diesel, and GTL kerosene, which can be used for jet fuel.
GTL gasoil is virtually free of sulphur and aromatics and produces fewer local emissions when burned than conventional diesel. It can be used as a blend component with conventional, oil-based diesel or as pure GTL fuel in conventional diesel engines.
In 2012, Shell launched GTL fuel for use in buses and public service vehicle, such as refuse collection trucks, in the Netherlands and Germany.