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Shell says green technology will need new fluids

Despite being one of the world’s biggest makers of lubricants and fuels, Shell appears to be confident of its future in the face of the move towards electric vehicles, according to the company’s global technology manager for heavy-duty diesel engine oil.

Jason Brown was speaking at Texas A&M Transportation Institute during a media briefing. He said that while electric vehicles are inevitable, these will have their own lubrication needs. For example, coolant will be needed to help the thermal management of batteries, inverters, electric motors, and motor windings. Greases will still be required for bearings and wheels, while reduction gears and differentials will necessitate transmission oil. Brown also points to the need for specialized lubricants for plug-in hybrids to cope with the additional stress caused by frequent stop-starts.

Brown also mentioned the need for a diverse mix of energy sources in the fight against carbon dioxide emissions, pointing out that coal and oil are still feasible sources of energy. He then pointed out that as they currently stand, electricity grids could not cope with everyone charging electric vehicles. He said he expects it will take decades to build electricity grids that could handle this.

Shell is investing in a broad range of fuel sources, including biofuels and hydrogen, as well as pursuing better energy efficiency for traditional fuels. It is also selling liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas, and building charging stations for electric vehicles. Brown said that no single solution alone will be enough to reduce CO2 emissions.

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