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Shell’s approach to smarter products
Over the next four decades, the number of cars on the road is expected to triple to over 2 billion and the number of trucks to double, according to the International Energy Agency. Air and sea traffic are also growing fast. At Shell, we are using our technical expertise to develop advanced products designed to help move people and goods more efficiently on land, on sea and in the air.
Demand for transport will continue to grow over the coming decades. Our approach includes developing advanced fuels and lubricants, producing biofuels, and using natural gas to help keep the world moving.
More efficient fuels and lubricants
Worldwide, Shell expects demand for liquid transport fuels to grow by 20% over the next 20 years.
To help meet this demand while limiting CO2 emissions, Shell is developing fuels designed to help customers drive further on every tank, for example Shell FuelSave Regular Unleaded and nitrogen-enriched petrol and diesel. Through our technical partnership with Ferrari, we use Formula One™ as a unique test bed for advanced products, such as Shell V-Power high performance vehicle fuels, that eventually find their way to ordinary motorists.
Advanced lubricants like Shell Helix can also help drivers and fleet operators cut their fuel consumption by keeping engines running smoothly.
Around the world, road transport accounts for about a sixth of all energy-related CO₂ emissions. With car ownership rising, it’s increasingly important to tackle the environmental impact of driving. Shell’s primary focus is on biofuels, which can be blended for use in ordinary car engines.
Already one of the world’s largest distributors of biofuels, we are now moving into production of low-carbon biofuel too. The Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol produced at our Raízen joint venture emits around 70% less CO₂ than conventional petrol from source to final use.
Inspiring cars of the future
Vehicle design also plays a major role in fuel efficiency. Shell Eco-marathon is a unique competition challenging students who could be the next generation of car designers and engineers to design, build and drive the most fuel-efficient car possible.
In 2012, over 4,000 students from 35 countries took part in three Shell Eco-marathon events in Europe, the Americas and Asia. A team from France drove the equivalent of more than 2,800 km (1,700 miles) on a single litre of fuel - the same distance as from the northern tip of Norway down to the toe of Italy.
Natural gas for transport
Cooling natural gas to around -162°C (-260°F) turns it into a liquid and shrinks its volume for easier shipment and storage. We are exploring ways to broaden the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel more of the world’s growing transport fleets. In 2011, we made an investment decision to develop the production and refuelling infrastructure to supply LNG along a truck route in Alberta, Canada. Elsewhere, we plan to charter the first inland barges to run purely on LNG, which will sail on the Rhine from 2013.
For existing vehicles, using advanced technology we turn natural gas into valuable gas-to-liquid (GTL) products. These include GTL gasoil, a cleaner-burning alternative for diesel, and GTL kerosene, which can be used for jet fuel. We launched GTL fuel for public service vehicles in the Netherlands and Germany in 2012.
More than 90% of all global trade is transported by sea. At Shell, we are developing new shipping products to help shipping operators use fuel more efficiently and reduce harmful engine emissions. For example, scientists at our Marine and Power Innovation Centre in Hamburg, Germany, recently developed a new marine lubricant, Shell Alexia S4, which is tailored to help large ships travel slower without damaging their engines.
By giving ships the flexibility to adjust their speed more easily, the new lubricant helps them save fuel and cut harmful emissions, as well as reducing costly downtime between journeys. The lubricant works in a range of climates, across different speeds and fuel types.
New fuels for aviation
Shell refuels an aircraft somewhere in the world roughly every 12 seconds. As demand rises, we are now developing alternative fuels which can help diversify the aviation fuel mix and reduce the environmental impact of aviation. In 2009, for example, Shell supplied Qatar Airways with a liquid fuel made from natural gas for a flight from London Gatwick to Doha – the world´s first commercial passenger flight powered by natural gas. If this fuel becomes more widely used in the future, at higher concentrations it could help improve air quality at busy airports.