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RNG to fuel Shell Starship 3.0 this summer

May 5, 2023
In an effort to accelerate progress toward decarbonization, the latest Starship truck will feature a Cummins X15N powered by renewable natural gas during its cross-country trek.

Shell’s new Starship 3.0 will be powered by renewable natural gas when it begins testing the latest available technology this summer. The goal is to demonstrate its commitment to the decarbonization of the transport industry, according to the company.

“Shell Starship 3.0 will feature some of the best-in-class technologies that are leading the way forward in helping decarbonize the heavy transport sector,” Dr. Selda Gunsel, president of Shell Global Solutions and vice president of fuels and lubricants technology at Shell, said in a news release.

The truck, which now will be powered by a Cummins X15N natural gas engine, will run on Shell Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), a commercially available fuel with a low carbon intensity rating. RNG is a natural gas transportation fuel derived from organic waste and is interchangeable with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) in transport vehicles.

“The combination of Shell RNG fuels for fleets and quality, low-friction Shell Rotella lubricants made a natural gas engine a great choice for the next evolution of Starship,” Gunsel said.

Starship 3.0 also will include components and features that promote lightweighting and low aerodynamic drag, along with low rolling resistance tires from Bridgestone, Shell said. The interior of the truck has been updated to make it comfortable for the driver on the road and inviting for passengers along for the ride.

Summer demonstration runs

Starship 3.0 will make a demonstration run on the West Coast in preparation for a cross-country demonstration run from San Diego, California, to Jacksonville, Florida in August. The two previous cross-country runs have followed this route. The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) will again monitor and verify the results.

Starship 3.0 will deliver a material demonstration of sustainable freight ton efficiency, utilizing the key performance metric, ton-miles of goods shifted per kilogram of CO2 emitted. The truck will showcase how fleets today can reduce their energy usage and carbon emissions, without losing focus on the cost of their operations.

Additional details about the equipment on Shell Starship 3.0 and information about the test drivers will be revealed soon, Shell added.

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