Energy company Shell has published the results of a demonstration run by the third iteration of its low-carbon Starship freight platform.
The Starship truck was constructed with the aim of using existing technologies to minimise the carbon intensity of freight transport. It features enhancements like lighter materials, a lower rolling resistance from the wheels, and a lower drag thanks to its aerodynamic design.
This also comes with the use of highly efficient lubricants like the Shell Rimula commercial vehicle oil. The major addition to the third version of the truck is the Cummins X15N engine. fuelled by natural gas.
The truck was tested for fright ton efficiency (FTE) in California on a loop of 840 miles with a loaded trailer. On a basis of ton-miles per kilogram of CO2e that was emitted, the truck’s FTE was over 3 times more improved than the average for an equivalent Class 8 diesel truck in the US, while on a ton-miles of cargo transported per kilogram of CO2e, it was 2.5 times better.
Shell’s global vice president for fuels technology, mobility, and lubricants, Selda Gunsel, said during the event:
“If we improve freight ton efficiency and fuel economy, the fleets can reduce their fuel consumption, which improves their total cost of ownership, which also improves carbon dioxide side emissions. It’s a great way of making an impact today in the decarbonisation of commercial road transport.”
She added that compared to diesel, natural gas has a lower intensity level of carbon, but if the truck were to be fuelled with gas derived from cow waste, the truck would actually be carbon negative.