Shell’s student events stress role of engine oils in fuel efficiency


SHELL’s fuel economy student competition, the Shell Eco-marathon, is highlighting what the company said is the “unsung role” of engine oils in improving the fuel efficiency of a vehicle. Shell said that while many people are aware of the effects cleaner fuels and advanced engines have on efficiency, there are less who realize the contribution made by engine oils in the matter.

Fact is, Shell said, engine oils can make a difference of up to 2 percent in reducing fuel consumption.

“Our technologists have been investing significant resources to create innovative lubricants, including engine oils, to unlock greater fuel efficiency in a vehicle,” said Pilipinas Shell Lubricants Country Manager Dennis Javier. “Lubricants are in contact with almost all parts of the engine and can significantly contribute to fuel economy gains today. The lower the viscosity of the oil, the less fuel an engine needs to use to overcome its resistance. The challenge is to determine the lowest viscosity which still provides the right level of engine protection and durability.”

At the Shell Eco-marathon 2013 series, Shell said it engaged students on the topic of engine oils and vehicle efficiency through “tribology,” the science behind lubrication, friction and wear. In Asia (held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and Europe (in Rotterdam, The Netherlands), a new off-track award was introduced to encourage students to think about engine oils as an important component of their vehicle’s efficiency—the Shell Helix Tribology Award.

Through this, the fuel and lubricants company said students used lubrication principles, friction equations and tribology concepts to explain how they took full advantage of the fuel efficiency gains provided by engine oils in their vehicles. The winners were judged by lubrication technology experts from within and outside Shell.

The ITS Team 2 from Indonesia’s Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember won the inaugural Shell Helix Tribology Award. Shell said the team stood out for its understanding of how lubricant selection impacts vehicle performance, quantifying this with computer-aided simulations to determine friction and fuel economy and adjusting design elements to consider tribology impacts.

“Tribology is here to stay at the Shell Eco-marathon events and we are excited by the innovative ideas we have already seen and those that are yet to come,” said Norman Koch, the global technical director for Shell Eco-marathon.


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