Aim to speed up global shift to cleaner, more energy-efficient road transport
By Greening of Oil
Shell unveiled a package of innovations dubbed ‘Smarter Mobility’ at Michelin’s Challenge Bibendum 2010 sustainable mobility conference, which began May 30. The advances are geared to speed up the global shift to cleaner, more energy-efficient road transportation, the company said in a press release.
Organized by Michelin, Challenge Bibendum was first held in 1998, an international forum to address all the issues of sustainable road mobility in a world in which the number of cars on the road is expected to more than double to two billion by 2050. The challenge for participants is to help move the growing number of people and goods around in a more reliable, cost-effective and cleaner manner.
The event combines technical tests and evaluations, demonstrations and test drives to gauge the progress of vehicles, energies and technologies.
Technologies and trends are debated in roundtable discussions; private and public sector opinion leaders and decision-makers gauge the advances and future sustainable energy paths for better mobility.
Participants include research institute and university scientists, technology developers and representatives from the transportation and oil industries, politicians and journalists.
Celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year Michelin selected Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for Challenge Bibendum 2010. It is the first South American city to host the conference and ground zero for the biofuels industry, with close to 100 percent of all vehicles sold in the country equipped to run on ethanol.
Shell finds ways to help now
In his remarks at the conference Shell’s Downstream Director Mark Williams said, “A big part of Shell’s business is about providing the fuels, lubricants and even road surfaces that make it possible for people and goods to move around in motor vehicles. So customers faced with energy, climate and economic challenges can turn to us for ways to save fuel and emit less CO2.”
While electric vehicles, hydrogen and advanced biofuels “all have huge potential, there will not be enough of them to make a real difference for another decade or more,” he said. “That’s too long, so we’re acting now to make today’s transport system cleaner and more efficient. We’re calling it Smarter Mobility.”
Through Smarter Mobility, Williams said Shell is helping its customers today in three main ways: smarter products, smarter use and smarter infrastructure.
Smarter products, Ferrari team, and Guinness World Record
With smarter use of new additives, today’s petrol and diesel can yield big savings, the company said in its release. Today Shell Fuel Economy formula products are available in over 21 countries. In 2009, Shell launched its most advanced Fuel Economy formula fuel to date, Shell FuelSave, which helps customers save up to one liter (about 0.2 of a gallon) per tank with every fill. (Based on a minimum tank size and fill up of 50 liters, or just less than 11 gallons.)
In addition to smarter fuels, smarter products include more efficient lubricants, and even innovative plastics that allow carmakers to create lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles, Shell said.
One such product is Shell V-Power, the result of Shell working closely with the Ferrari team. It was formulated by the Shell scientists who developed Ferrari's Formula One race fuels.
“Its unique cleaning agents and Friction Modification Technology have been formulated to help increase an engine's responsiveness and improve driving performance,” Shell said.
But better products are only part of the effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline-powered engines. Better driving habits and more efficient fuels can help drivers save fuel.
“We have been working to find out more about drivers’ attitudes to fuel efficiency and to help drivers to get the most out of every drop,” the company said in one of its documents that was part of Williams’ presentation at Challenge Bibendum.
“We launched the Shell FuelSave Challenge in 2007 to help drivers save fuel. By using Shell fuels with Fuel Economy formula combined with fuel saving techniques the best drivers saved 24 percent on fuel. Three years later we have trained over 160,000 drivers across 11 countries” the company said.
To discover more about drivers’ fuel-saving habits and attitudes Shell carried out international research. Earlier this year it surveyed 3,300 drivers across Europe and Asia. The results show that half of drivers are not taking action to save fuel and in Europe one-third don't believe they can.
The expert panel that reviewed the survey findings said in a summary statement, 83 percent of drivers want more information on how to save fuel. To provide the information Shell will be setting up a panel of experts who will work together to find new ways of helping more drivers save more fuel more often.
The panel’s founding members are Guinness World Record holders in fuel economy, John and Helen Taylor. Shell is currently looking for more FuelSave experts to join the panel.
The members of the panel will be announced before the end of 2010.
Smarter use, cutting fleet fuel use by 10 percent
Smarter products deliver even better results when used in smarter ways. So, for example, Shell is offering fleet operators a service called FuelSave Partner that electronically tracks fuel use and recommends different speeds, routes and driving styles to optimize economy.
The company said FuelSave Partner can cut fleet fuel use by as much as 10 percent.
Shell also offers fuel economy driving advice to motorists, runs competitions to promote more efficient driving, and has deployed celebrity FuelSave “ambassadors” around the world to encourage smarter use of fuel.
Smarter infrastructure, including lower carbon road surface
Shell is helping to develop a more energy efficient global road transport infrastructure.
An example Williams included in his announcement is a process designed to produce and lay asphalt at lower temperatures is the Shell WAM Foam Process. Tested in cold and hot climates, the process reduces overall energy consumption by between 25 percent and 35 percent compared to conventional asphalt.
Shell’s WAM Foam production and laying process leads to a temperature reduction of about 50°C, resulting in a dramatic reduction in emissions, dust and fumes. At the plant during production, reductions include CO2 (30 percent), CO (25 percent), Nox (60 percent) and dust (more than 50 percent.) At the site while laying, fumes are down to almost zero.
Shell Instapave, a simple, economic, lower carbon road surface, is being rolled out in Latin America and India to replace fragile, dusty and unsafe dirt roads. The company said it can be ready for use in as little as 30 minutes after it is laid.
Instapave was conceived by the Shell Bitumen team in the Philippines where they recognized the need for a cost effective alternative to conventional road surfaces. In the Philippines, approximately 78 percent of the total road network, equivalent to 155,000 kilometers, is gravel roads — an inadequate system for a developing country.
As a more cost effective alternative to conventional asphalt or concrete paving, Instapave is more easily within the reach of developing countries and presents a more durable solution than gravel, Shell said.
Its practical benefits include: being fully mobile (available in drums); improves durability of rural roads, particularly under intense rainfall and monsoon conditions; reduces or eliminates the dust that gravel and earth tracks produce; and can be laid without complex machinery, using locally sourced aggregate.
Instapave has broader social benefits.
The World Bank, for example, recognizes that a quality road system offers access to schools, hospitals and markets. Its research shows that $1 spent on roads is of greater benefit to the population than $1 spent on irrigation.
Dust, generated by gravel roads, is also a major contributor to poor health in developing countries leading to higher incidences of lung cancer.
Ideally suited to meet the needs of developing countries where there is a need for a low-cost road surface in areas where there are relatively low volumes of traffic, Shell said Instapave is designed to meet the needs of individual governments or communities; the exact solution will depend on the needs of the local community.
Testing personal performance
In addition to participating in several components of the Bibendum Challenge, Shell provided one of the conference’s most popular attractions in the Technological Exhibition Center — an automatic driving simulator that measures fuel consumption.
According to Shell equipment coordinator Steve Williams, the purpose of the simulator is to emulate an automatic vehicle, driving carefully in order to consume the least possible amount of fuel.
But the ‘drivers’ must also remember to use their turning indicators, steering carefully and avoiding other vehicles and obstacles along the way.
After the test drive, a hostess presents the visitor with a certificate attesting to his or her theoretical performance.
Bibendum Challenge 2010 ends June 3. That day’s activities include a parade of cars, a group picture with Sugar Loaf and lunch at Porcão Rio´s.
Links of interest
Bibendum Challenge 2010
Shell’s Bibendum Challenge