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Shell: Super thin lubricant in the making

By SYF77 on 10 Jun 2011

Attached Image: scientist_pour_helix_t25_car.jpg

A collaboration between research teams at Shell and Gordon Murray Design (GMD) recently led to the development of an innovative concept engine lubricant capable of achieving a 6.5% improvement in fuel efficiency on an urban cycle, and a 4.6% benefit on a combined cycle. Using GMD’s new T.25 city car as the test bed, Shell engineers formulated an ultra low viscosity 0W-10 motor oil. The T.25, designed to have world-leading efficiency and ultra-low emissions, features low weight and a very small engine for high fuel efficiency.

The testing undertaken compares this concept lubricant to a 10W-30 oil which is a widely used viscosity in European markets. Vice President Lubricants and B2B Products Technology at Shell Lubricants, Selda Gunsel, has the following comments:

“Blending low viscosity oil to improve fuel efficiency is actually relatively simple; the challenge comes when you look to balance it with engine protection and acceptable oil drain intervals. There are products on the market that have made great strides in achieving this balance, such as Shell Helix Ultra but they have to work within the parameters of current industry specifications. We believe that now is the time to start looking at lubricant technology that goes beyond current specifications to enhance the efficiency of the cars of tomorrow.”-One concern that I have is the oil's suitability for turbocharged car, whose popularity is on the rise now. Turbocharged vehicle usually need thicker oil which is more stable at high temperature.

However, there is no word yet from Shell as to when their new 0W-10 concept motor oil will be available to consumers, or if engine modifications (such as tighter bearing clearances to maintain adequate oil pressure) will be necessary. One thing for sure is that auto makers are certainly interested in any oil that could boost fuel economy significantly as they have to meet tougher corporate average fuel economy standards by 2016 (37.8 mpg for cars and 28.8 mpg for light trucks).

T.25 City Car
Attached Image

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Written by SYF77
I have been a car fanatic since 1989, when my father was changing our family car then to a Toyota Corolla 1.6 GL fitted with a Twin Cam 16 valve engine that was carburetor-fed, a big deal back in those days. The automobile technology and industry fascinates me and I hope to broadcast these interesting developments to everyone out there through this blog.

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