Lubes and OEM collaboration essential to boost fuel efficiency – Shell

Barbara Ortner


LONDON (ICIS)–Makers of lubricants need to collaborate with automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to achieve progress on fuel efficiency, said a senior executive at Shell on Thursday.

“In order to meet the societal requirements on us, we need to collaborate,” said Bob Mainwaring, technology manager for lubricants innovation at Shell Global Solutions UK.

It needs collaboration at different levels of technical co-operation to achieve innovation. That means starting with off-the-shelf fluids, progressing to bespoke fluids and giving ultimate benefit with co-engineered hardware and fluids, he added.

Mainwaring was speaking to delegates at the 23rd ICIS World Base Oils Conference, held on 18-22 February in London.

Innovation requires combining existing technologies together and matching lubricants to their application.

“Engine components should be designed alongside the lubricant,” he said.

Demonstrating this, the Shell Starship concept truck, designed for optimum energy consumption, had produced a 248% improvement in freight tonne efficiency over an average cargo truck on a US coast-to-coast road test last year, he showed.

Of relevance to base oil and lubricant demand, a significant proportion of energy usage in a car is related to friction.

“Some 20% of energy usage in a car is associated with friction, so you could save a fifth of your total fuel bill,” he added.

That said, driving behaviour is a significant component in the total fuel economy.

“Load up, go slow, avoid hills and maintain a steady speed,” he recommended.

“Choose the highest viable gear, minimise braking … use coasting mode and turn off when stopped,” he added.

Co-operation for innovation should not be put off into the future.

“Start today, because it’s a long time to materiality,” he said.


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