Advanced fuels and lubricant technology


A body of new legislation led by the European Union will soon see car-makers facing financial penalties – per vehicle sold – if they fail to meet CO2 emissions targets. In South Africa, the Clean Fuels 2 standard is expected to bring lagging local standards more in line with these European standards.

Although countries and regions are moving towards alignment with European standard, it will however take time to achieve due to different refinery configurations, diverse vehicle fleets, and varying political and market conditions.

“In parallel to new clean fuel standards, refineries are becoming more complex. This has an impact on the capital costs, such as new process units, as well as operating costs, pushing fuel prices higher and driving consumer demand for enhanced fuel economy products,” says Senior Technical Specialist at Shell, Howard Nkohla. “In other words, achieving more miles per tankful.”

Euro 6 is the latest diesel engine emission legislations being driven by the European Commission, which seeks to reduce NOx by 50% compared with Euro 5 and by 80% compared with Euro 4. Locally, the Clean Fuels Two (CF2) draft fuel specifications and standards, will be the equivalent of the current European Emissions Standard Five specifications (Euro 5) and focuses on reducing Oxides of Nitrogen or ‘NOx’, and ‘Particulate Matter‘ (basically soot particles) in diesel engines.

The Clean Fuels 2 standard will also reduce the key enabling sulphur content to 10 ppm.

While Euro 3 could be met with engine technology improvements, from the Euro 4 and above standards, exhaust gas requires after-treatment technologies to meet the lower emissions targets. The new technologies mean cleaner fuel and lubricants are required.
“The cohesive approach between the development of new engine technologies, and the development of new grade fuels and lubricants, will accelerate the overall efficiency gains that can be made in the near future,” Nkohla adds.

Shell is passionate about innovation, providing products that help customers improve their efficiency, such as Fuel Economy Diesel with brand names as Shell Diesel Extra. Shell Diesel Extra contains a unique formulation designed to give motorists cleaner fuel and extra kilometres at no extra cost.

This means less energy is used to run vehicles over their lifetime. Shell Diesel Extra also contains an anti-foam component for easier and cleaner fill-up. Tests conducted by Shell have also shown the fuel's ability to improve fuel economy up to 3% versus non-additised fuel.

Lubricants also have their own contribution to make to fuel efficiency. They are in contact with, and critical to, the effective operation and longevity of almost all engine parts. Lubricant viscosity is linked to engine friction and lowering it is a reliable means of improving fuel economy.

Long-standing technical relationships with engine manufacturers have also enabled Shell to help companies such as Daimler to set new world records in truck fuel efficiency using Shell Diesel Extra and Rimula R6 LME. This record run with new Euro V and Euro VI Actros achieved 7.6% and 4.5% fuel savings respectively in the 10,000km run.

Shell Rimula R6 LME is formulated with reduced levels of ash and sulphur to help control diesel particulate filter (DPF) blocking and maintain the efficiency of the latest and future vehicle technologies. It delivers exceptional wear protection and engine piston cleanliness in the latest engines and has been tested to help ensure long engine life and protection throughout the oil maintenance interval.Shell Rimula R6 LME exceeded the piston cleanliness of Daimler’s most demanding limits by 56% in the MB OM 501 LA engine test.

“Shell’s close collaboration and relationships underline very clearly the potential of a co-engineering approach to deliver really significant benefits in energy efficiency,” says Nkohla. “This is helping to deliver against new legislation coming into place across the world and tough economic conditions that require customers to look for ways to reduce costs.”

Raymond Abrahams

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Issue 68


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