After having made two successful coast-to-coast journeys in the US and pushed the boundaries of fuel efficiency with a diesel engine, Shell’s Class 8 tractor-trailer is getting a new engine fuelled by natural gas.
Once the current Cummins X-15 diesel engine is replaced by a Cummins X15N engine fuelled by compressed natural gas, the Starship will return to the highways, so engineers at Shell and Cummins can evaluate the potential of the engine and natural gas for use in long-haul fleets.
Shell Global Solutions’ Ryan Manthiri, who is Shell’s lead engineer for the Starship, said about the latest incarnation of the truck:
“We learned what we could with Starship 1.0 and 2.0, and we’re applying those lessons now. We’ve learned a lot so far and have really amazing results. Now, we are working in close association with Cummins to make sure all powertrain technologies on the truck are seamlessly integrated.”
Shell engineers started working on the Starship in 2017 by focussing on how every suitable transport technology could be leveraged to achieve greater freight efficiencies for class-8 tractors, which are the heaviest duty trucks in America. This included not only advanced lubricants like Shell Rimula but also aspects like aerodynamic optimisation, cruise control, and lightweight carbon-fibre bodywork. Using natural gas as a fuel should further reduce the truck’s emissions.
Here at TrAchem, we of course supply Shell’s range of advanced lubricants, so get in touch with our helpful team to learn more about how they could benefit your applications.