Shell launches lubricants for natural gas-fuelled trucks and buses in China

Shell Lubricants has launched two new products in China for trucks and buses running on natural gas – Shell Rimula R5 NG and Shell Rimula R3 NG. These products represent the latest in lubricant technology designed to meet the very specific operating conditions in natural gas engines, according to Shell.

China is the world’s fastest growing market for vehicles running on liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel. Shell now has a full range of natural gas engine oils to cater to this growing fleet of vehicles, ranging from heavy duty trucks and buses to smaller vehicles such as taxis.

“We are excited to be able to bring these new products to our Chinese customers, first. It is vital that Shell is able to supply engine oils that help our customers get the most from their natural gas vehicles, especially as this segment of vehicles is growing exceptionally in China. It is gratifying to see our new lubricant products come to market; they are backed by strong R&D and testing to meet the very specific needs of these engines, given their different combustion systems and requirements. The Chinese market remains very important for the long term growth aspirations of our lubricants business and we are committed to staying close to our customers’ evolving needs.” said Swee Chen Goh, vice president of Shell Lubricants Asia Pacific.

Research suggests that China will increase its natural gas vehicle population from 1.6 million in 2012 to 5 million by 2020. Many truck and bus fleet operators have started converting their vehicles to use natural gas fuels, following implementation of the National Phase IV standards of Vehicle Emission Pollution Control and Supervision.

Natural gas engines require dedicated engine oils because they have different combustion systems and after-treatment system requirements compared to diesel engines. Natural gas burns hotter than other hydrocarbon fuels, which puts the engine oil through more severe thermal stress, oxidation and nitration. This may cause the formation of oil sludge and carbon deposits inside the engine. Using natural gas as a fuel may also result in inadequate lubrication of the engine valves, as its cleaner and drier properties produce few carbon particles in the combustion chamber.

Shell believes while LNG fuel for transport is currently at an early stage, it could become a material segment, especially for shipping and heavy-duty road transport. LNG fuel has the potential to provide economic and environmental benefits, as it is cost-competitive, and can reduce sulphur emissions, particulates and nitrogen oxides compared to diesel and heavy fuel oil, according to Shell.

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