While Shell Eco-Marathon might be the most prominent component of the three-day event titled “Make the Future Singapore”, guests were also able to explore and experience a whole world of thought provoking ideas that could revolutionise the way we think about transportation.
Arriving at the venue on Thursday, March 16, one could find a number of activities going on in the main hall of the Changi Exhibition Centre. Odd-shaped vehicles worked hard on their test runs to prove that the team behind each had a winning formula in this global competition that challenges students to push the boundaries of energy efficiency.
Winning Formulas The Shell Eco-marathon Asia, held for the first time in Singapore, saw around 22,000 people gather for the event where students set a series of fuel-efficiency records. In the Prototype category, drivers squeezed into low-slung cars, lying on their backs to steer around the 1.19 km custom-built track that overlooked the South China Sea. In the UrbanConcept category, cars had more conventional designs.
In total, 123 teams competed from across the Asia-Pacific region. The competition culminated in the inaugural Drivers’ World Championship Asia – a specific contest to crown Asia’s most energy-efficient driver in the UrbanConcept category.
De La Salle University (DLSU) from the Philippines beat five other Asia-Pacific teams to claim the title. They were followed by two Indonesian teams: Bengawan Team 2 from Sebelas Maret University, Surakarta, Central Java and ITS Team 2 from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember in Surabaya, East Java.
All three teams will fly to London in May for the Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final where they will compete with teams from Europe and the Americas. “I can’t believe it. None of us can,” DLSU driver Carlo Miguel Flores, 19, said. “This is just such an amazing achievement for all of us and we’ve worked so hard to get here.” Students from the University of Canterbury – the first team from New Zealand – competed with an electric vehicle. In the Prototype competition, Team Virgin from Sakonnakhon Technical College in Thailand beat a 2016 record with their result of 2,288 kilometres per litre.
Team Sadewa from Indonesia and Team LH-EST from Vietnam won in the UrbanConcept competition, setting new records in their respective categories.
New Technology the Key Panel discussions were dominated by the question on how we can use resources better and make the most of the energy we have. According to Shell spokespersons, value will be unlocked through new technology. For instance, the rise of 3-D printing allows for the production of parts without the need of having to ship them to multiple locations. Shell itself is interested in such methods as it allows the company to produce spare parts on an oil rig for example, greatly reducing the need to keep stocks of parts or to wait for the needed items to arrive.
What Shell identified as global trends was the demand for more, but cleaner, energy. With the emergence of new technologies, such as internet connectivity using basic systems in rural areas, the demand for transportation in remote areas will increase. As people are seeking convenience, the notion of “here and now” is going to be become more prevalent. Citing insights from According to Volvo Trucks Singapore, China has enormous expertise in E-Commerce, but requires highly sophisticated systems and a good road network to be able to manage deliveries as customers in second and third tier cities expect next-day delivery. With a global estimated population of nearly nine billion people by 2050, it is obvious that the need for transport, commercial as well as private, is only going to increase. Further trends include loadsharing to optimize resources and a call for alternative fuels, such as biodiesel.
At this event, Shell brought together experts from multiple fields on energy at the first Powering Progress Together Forum. Themed “Cleaner Energy Moves Asia”, the forum saw some 100 stakeholders from governments, businesses and NGOs, together with Shell’s business partners and leaders, discuss, debate and catalyse cross-border collaborations to tackle the region’s future energy challenges. According to Shell Scenarios, Asia’s demand for energy could increase by 50% in the run up to 2040.
Fleet Management Introduced at the event was the Shell Fleet Management System. In a move to add value, Shell has launched a system that allows fleet operators to monitor, manage and improve the performance of their vehicles in one platform. Here, Shell offers not only the benefits of the well-established Fleet card, but also works with customers when it comes to tyre management, driver training and other aspects of the running of a commercial vehicle fleet. Currently, there are some 7.3 million trucks on the road in the ASEAN Economic Community, according to Shell.
In Singapore, Shell is handling all Upstream, Midstream and Downstream activities. The island state is also home to a Shell refinery. Handling the business affairs is Kaushik Burman, Country Business Manager, Shell Singapore, who launched the Telematics solutions together with pioneer client Redmart.
Simple Solution In a quest to reduce fuel consumption, Shell has partnered with Gordon Murray Design to develop a car that not only addresses the needs of urban folk, but is easy on resources while still being safe and sound. Having passed crucial tests, the Shell Concept Car, called “project M”, was developed using standard items. Instead of re-developing engine and drivetrain, the task at hand was to further improve them. Utilising a standard Mitsubishi three-cylinder engine with only 660 ccm, the Project M (M for Mobility) moves up to three people while looking very stylish. Yes, there have been other research projects around this, however these have never been initiated with the intention to create a vehicle that would actually be fit for mass production. With a drag coefficient of 0.297 it rivals some serious race cars and prototype Shell Helix Ultra Lubricants tickle out another 5% in fuel economy.
Fuelled Mae Ascan is a Shell Fuels Scientist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to her, the task she is fulfilling is to create and promote fuels that are appropriate for each market. Working in close relationship with some 170 other fuel scientists, she is gathering input and feedback from the market and the management to decide what type of fuel to create. This is done in collaboration with retail, while assessing if there is a need for a fuel that Shell may want to create. The challenge is in the creation of a product that can be rolled out in several countries, if not even globally. “Obviously, we wouldn’t go ahead and invest in the creation of a fuel if there is no demand for it from the market,” she says. Ascan has successfully launched some 15 fuels to date. “Typically, the challenge is to make the market understand the technical aspects, the benefits of a new product.” Her assessment is that the retail outlets, of which Shell has some 44 000 across the globe, play a crucial role. In her view, Biofuels are the future of mobility.
Fries Fuel Freight The Shell Make The Future campaign is highlighting the need for greater global collaboration to create more and cleaner energy solutions, by helping to bring innovations from six smart energy start-ups to life. One of these is Chinese company MotionECO, a company that seeks to transform used cooking oil into sustainable biofuels for transport, public services and logistics. Shell is collaborating with MotionECO to help explore how to simultaneously tackle the challenges of food safety, waste cooking oil and sustainable transport in a Chinese city region. Around 5 million tonnes of potentially harmful used cooking oil are regularly recycled back into China’s food system - an illegal trade that poses a significant health risk. By connecting waste cooking oil collectors with biodiesel producers, MotionECO seeks to transform used cooking oil into sustainable biofuels that can reduce greenhouse gases from air, road and marine transportation by as much as 85%. A large part of their role is then encouraging big transportation companies to switch to this eco-friendly fuel.
Trucking on Hyperfuel In the US, Shell Lubricants and AirFlow Truck Company are developing a new hyper-fuel mileage Class 8 tractor trailer. This next-generation concept truck, the StarShip, will feature a completely new design with the aim of breaking current fuel efficiency records for Class 8 trucks after its debut in 2017. The pursuit of significant fuel economy gains for Class 8 trucks is a challenging process given the size and traditional construction of a tractor and trailer. A holistic approach is important. This includes advances in engine and drive train technology, the use of low viscosity synthetic lubricants, aerodynamic designs, efficient driving methods and more.
The relationship with AirFlow Truck Company is part of a collaborative process fostered by Shell Lubricants that encourages co-engineering. The Shell Lubricants team will provide technical consultation on engine and drivetrain components and recommendations for lubricant needs for use in the StarShip truck, with the goal of improving fuel economy and other efficiencies. AirFlow Truck Company has built two previous aerodynamic and fuel efficient Class 8 tractor trailers. Most recently, in 2012, the Bullet Truck ran coast-to-coast hauling freight at 65,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and averaged a record 13.4 miles per gallon.
For fleet managers, growing urban populations and intensified demand on transportation systems will result in greater pressure to enhance the energy efficiency of fleets. Staying informed about the latest developments may present opportunities to harness new innovations to boost the efficiency and productivity of vehicles and their drivers.
Fleet Efficiency A case study from Redmart already showcased how effectively integrating data management can help improve the efficiency of the fleet. With some 50,000 items available for ordering and 12,000 of those in stock at any given time, Redmart was looking at the Shell Telematics solution to streamline their operation.
One of the key issues is the timely delivery of the orders placed. While drivers may be in a rush, Redmart’s management also emphasises safety. Hence, the speeding alerts are crucial. When asked about autonomous vehicles in this connection, Jamil Khan, Vice President of Redmart had to admit that without humans the business would not be possible. The last step is to deliver the goods from the van to the door-step of the client. Without the last carrier, the order fulfilment would not be possible. Besides, Redmart’s drivers are trained to have a chat with their customers when handing over the goods. Courtesy is surely something that will continue to have a space in transportation for a long time to come.