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Shell Lubricant Solutions working on ‘more than a few’ modern solutions

Lubrication and fuel efficiency for a cleaner environment

29th September 2022

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

     

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The evolution of technologies in various sectors demands “more than a few” modern fuel and lubrication solutions, which means that the evolution of solutions needs to be aligned to the technologies that are available, as well as the basic requirements of the industry.

Lubricant solution provider Shell Lubricant Solutions’ Mpho Mokwena says the company remains “committed to helping customers achieve carbon reduction goals and that the solutions are environmentally sustainable”.

Basic requirements, he explains in a webinar hosted by Creamer Media on September 28, include low salt and ash, quality replicating products, biodegradable lubricating products or environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs), as well as emission fluids, digital oil and emission monitoring solutions and more.

Maintaining profitability, which is key in the current economic climate, makes this difficult. Alongside rising fuel costs, customers are consistently looking for areas where they can achieve savings.

However, Mokwena notes that the challenge is mitigated through Shell Lubricant Solutions’ product and service portfolio that supports its customers to operate “optimally and sustainably” while reducing the total cost of ownership.

In addition, its packaging solutions have a net-zero carbon footprint and formulations, which means customers “can claim the carbon reduction that results from using carbon-neutral packaging and solutions”.

“Our service solutions are designed specifically to enhance best practice, reduce costs and decrease consumption,” Mokwena says, adding that the portfolio’s reliability enables customers to reduce their consumption and emissions within heavy-duty applications as well.

Product application specialist Jamie Clare, meanwhile, says digital solutions are moving quickly, with the company now promoting its Shell Remote Sense (SRS) oil condition monitoring system.

By using the SRS, and the combination of raw data, customers are able to gather engine data, such as temperatures, pressures, speeds, loads, maintenance schedules and more.

In addition to raw data, Shell requires contextual data from its customers and a basic oil sampling analysis to monitor the oil or lubricant in real-time so that processes can be changed as and when needed.

However, taking a sample in the wrong place at the wrong time, for example, can influence the data and provide inaccurate results, and Clare says Shell is, therefore, moving towards a fully-automated 24/7 management system.

The SRS, he adds, is a “smart way of operating and maintaining healthy engines, powered by lubricant analysis and machine learning”, and can improve asset health, reduce unplanned downtime and optimise maintenance.

“It really underpins what our customers are looking to do in terms of extending oil drain intervals. We know the original-equipment manufacturers and oil companies have very rigid conservative oil drain intervals, but the SRS does this based on historical data and the way customers perform,” Clare explains.

Another nice feature of the platform is for mining customers, for example, who have hundreds of pieces of equipment – the SRS removes the need to do individual checks for each piece, or allows them an opportunity to extend oil use by another week, where possible, to assist in saving costs.

The SRS is fairly new, and has only been commercial for about a year, but about 1 000 global customers are connected, and are mainly based in the power and mining sectors.

Speaking to the same concept, Shell and technology company IBM have developed a business-to-business marketplace, called OREN, for the mining and industrial sectors. OREN offers solutions, software and services to accelerate digital and sustainable transformation, while simultaneously connecting industry leaders to problem solvers.

Through OREN, customers have access to emission management solutions, which are also very data-driven.

“In essence, a customer can check their operation to see what their daily emissions are and we help them manage the emissions and carbon footprint and also help achieve their sustainability objectives,” Mokwena comments.

This platform aims to foster cross-industry collaboration and pioneer a new way forward so that customers can easily manage most of their operations.

OREN and SRS, Mokwena adds, work in support of Shell’s core service, which is the provision of lubricants, and the latest technology in the market in terms of lubrication.

Shell also has biodegradable equivalents of all its products, which Mokwena says helps customers to alleviate the pressure of wanting to deliver more, while also contributing to a more sustainable, optimal operation.

“Our products in the natural range are completely biodegradable and are less flammable and less harmful to plants, animals or water streams where they might end up if not managed properly,” Mokwena says.

Included in this range is Shell’s carbon-neutral Rimula lubricant, which was specially formulated with reduced levels of ash and sulphur to help maintain the efficiency of the latest, and future, vehicle technologies.

QUALITY CONTROL

With most industries already having set out their respective decarbonisation strategies, manufacturer FuelActive mining sector director Thomas Michaelson-Yeates highlights the importance of knowing that these technologies are being piloted and tested and that they will be available to be rolled out commercially before the general net-zero goal of 2050.

“They're still in development. So, it's important to look at where we are to date with the diesel fuel and energy situation in mind and to understand that pretty much every main globalised energy source will be diesel,” he comments, adding that this will predominantly be on mobile assets, such as loading and hauling equipment.

With roughly 52 000 diesel trucks operating around the world, Michaelson-Yeates says changing these to net-zero technologies, such as hydrogen, illuminates the task ahead for the mining sector and other heavy industries.

To start understanding decarbonisation, he considers what long-term plans are in place to ensure these technologies can be accelerated to bring the world to net zero, but in the short term, Michaelson-Yeates says different technologies (be it mechanical, chemical or digital) need to be considered and understood to reduce the impact of burning diesel.

The first step, he says, can be found in considering the different fuel sources that are available, such as biodiesel, and what benefits they provide.

Operational changes are the next step, and can be done through an application-specific solution, for example digital, which influences driver behaviour, remote operations, trolley systems on mines and so forth.

Quality is the last step to be considered, Michaelson-Yeates adds, emphasising that the quality of fuel that’s going into the engine needs to be at the highest specification possible for the operation, and it has to be used appropriately to achieve the desired results.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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