Shell completes gas to liquids fuel trial in California

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 26 -- Shell International Gas Ltd. said the results of a gas to liquids (GTL) fuel trial in California affirm that GTL fuel has a role to play in the long-term transition to renewable fuels.

"This fuel is increasingly seen as the most cost-effective alternative fuel for reducing emissions in transport," Jack Jacometti, Shell International Gas vice-president of GTL global development, told OGJ in a telephone interview from his London office.

The trial involved six trucks with conventional diesel engines that deliver bottled water in Los Angeles. The results show that GTL fuel reduced all regulated emissions, with nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions down by 16% and particulate emissions down by 23%.

The trial involved a standard set of simulated driving conditions that emissions-testing researchers call a New York City Bus drive cycle. It achieved the basic emissions reductions without a particulate filter. Use of a catalyzed diesel particulate filter reduced emissions of NOx by 20% and PM emissions by 97%.

Jacometti said GTL fuel can help the development of advanced engines. He also believes the oil industry, vehicle manufacturing industry, and governments need to cooperate in this development.

He noted that diesel engines are more popular in luxury cars in Europe than they are in the US.

GTL fuel for the California trial came from Shell's 14,500 b/d plant at Bintulu, Malaysia, which uses the Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis process.

Shell GTL Fuel has cut emissions and improved performance of passenger cars in trials in Germany and of heavy-duty trucks tested in Japan and California.

Recently, a Shell GTL fuel blend was launched in a bus trial in Shanghai, China, with the Shanghai Pudong Bus Transportation Co. Ltd. Blends of GTL fuel currently are being sold at Shell retail stations in Germany, the Netherlands, Thailand, and Greece.

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