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Fuel fact vs fuel fiction: Exploring the performance benefits of alternative fuels for transport operators

Jan 28, 2019, 09:26 AM by Certas Energy


When it comes to the alternative fuels conversation, fiction can too often take precedence over fact. That’s why we created The Alternative Guide to Navigating the New Energy Mix to bust the myths that could be holding businesses back from adopting alternative fuels to transition to a low emission future. 

While many businesses know that alternative fuels can cut levels of harmful air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, few realise they can also deliver significant improvements to productivity and engine performance.

Here, we explore one of the most widespread myths: 

FICTION: “Alternative fuels can’t offer any performance benefits other than reducing emissions”



28% of transport sector representatives are unsure if alternative fuels can reduce total cost of ownership…
 
…But GTL’s inherently cleaner burning composition has many in-use performance and cost benefits. 

FACT: Alternative fuels reduce DPF regen cycles



One of the most significant benefits of GTL products such as Shell GTL Fuel is for those operating HGVs in urban areas – and it’s not emissions reduction. The fuel’s cleaner burning nature means that it massively reduces soot build-up in Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF).  

Since making the switch to Shell GTL Fuel, Brakes UK have found that across their Park Royal HGV fleet, all 80 vehicles have not required a single DPF regeneration cycle. As well as extending time between maintenance periods and enabling more deliveries with fewer vehicles, this has created another unexpected benefit: a fuel economy improvement of 0.4mpg. 

With fuel costs amounting to as much as 35% of total fleet operating costs, a solution that helps deliver even a small increase in efficiency has the potential to make a big difference.

FACT: Alternative fuels can reduce odours, noise and improve cold start performance



Being produced from gas rather than crude oil, Shell GTL Fuel has lower density, improved cold flow properties and colourless and odourless characteristics. The fuel’s more uniform combustion can also help to cut engine noise with reductions of between 3-5dB reported by some customers – including drivers at Brakes UK. 

Shell GTL Fuel has also helped improve fuel island safety at Brakes UK’s Park Royal depot. When previously refuelling trucks with diesel, the depot’s fuel pump quickly became slippery and, as a result, needed to be power washed at least once a day. Shell GTL Fuel’s biodegradability has helped eliminate these slip hazards, freeing up maintenance staff and creating a safer environment for drivers.

Providing a compelling combination of benefits - from reduced emissions, odour and noise to improved biodegradability and fuel economy - alternative fuels are an immediately available solution to help businesses tackle poor air quality without disrupting productivity.

For an in-depth look at five of the most widespread alternative fuel myths and discover the case for a liquid fuels future, download The Alternative Guide to Navigating the New Energy Mix from Certas Energy.