TCG Stalks Shell’s V-Power Workshop in The Otomotif College

 

Wednesday, 30th May, 2012 – Thanks to Ogilvy PR’s awesome efforts, we got a chance to sit in with the automotive engineering and mechanic teachers and students of The Otomotif College for a special rundown of Shell V-Power; its benefits and differences with competitors. The workshop, conducted by a Shell Fuels Engineer, Mr. Loke Ean Bee (Fuels Group Manager, East, Shell Global Solutions), was insightful, to say the least.

 Fully qualified and extremely knowledgeable: the geek is strong with this one. Image from:  thecarguys.my

Fully qualified and extremely knowledgeable: the geek is strong with this one.
Image from: thecarguys.my

The workshop started with a brief introduction of the Shell and its long-term technical partnership with Ferrari. We learned a bit about how Shell has grown with Ferrari for more than 60 years together, and Shell’s commitment to providing the best possible efficiency in every drop of fuel.

Shell Fuels Engineer, Mr. Loke, started by explaining the logic behind V-Power (97 and Racing), and why it is better than its competitors. He first asked the floor about the conversion efficiency of a  fuel in an engine, and we fired out some guesses. He explained that the efficiency of engines are limited by a number of factors, namely; heat, friction, pumping losses, and internal air turbulence.

Thus, the efficiency of the engine is mostly limited by design and physics. Shell devised a clever way to reduce losses by reducing friction in the engine via chemical modifiers. These friction modifiers are the primary reason why Shell V-Power fuels deliver more bang for buck. Mr. Loke also told us that the same friction modifiers are used in Ferrari’s F1 machines, which goes to show the amount love they got for us normal folks. The fuel also coats the internals of the engine, simultaneously providing protection and reducing friction losses.

Mr. Loke then asked a student to demonstrate the differences between having friction modifiers and not by turning a thingamajig.

 Mr. Loke advising the student on operating the thingamajig. The laptop gives out a simulated explosion and sound effects too!  Image from:  thecarguys.my

Mr. Loke advising the student on operating the thingamajig. The laptop gives out a simulated explosion and sound effects too!

Image from: thecarguys.my

Then, Mr. Loke explained about another benefit of using V-Power fuels; it helps clean some parts of the engine. For example, valves in cars using other fuels are commonly afflicted by deposit formation, due in part to inefficient engine combustion, tuning, fuel choice, or a combination of issues. These deposits affect fuel consumption because they inevitably cause power loss, slower acceleration, poor driveability and start-ups.

The cause? Deposits around the valve form a sponge-like material, either absorbing fuel/air or preventing efficient flow to the combustion chambers. To help alleviate this problem, V-Power is formulated to clean these parts, reducing the probability of deposit formation.

To demonstrate the issue, Mr. Loke asked another victim, Damon Chan (Fuels Marketing Manager, Shell Malaysia) to help him burn two props. One was covered with deposits, and the other, clean.

 The valve that I hold in my hand…  Image from:  thecarguys.my

The valve that I hold in my hand…

Image from: thecarguys.my

 Damon helps Mr. Loke light each prop up (normal valves aren’t that big, but one sure can dream…).  Image from:  thecarguys.my

Damon helps Mr. Loke light each prop up (normal valves aren’t that big, but one sure can dream…).

Image from: thecarguys.my

 Mr. Loke then ensures both valves are fully ignited.  Image from:  thecarguys.my

Mr. Loke then ensures both valves are fully ignited.

Image from: thecarguys.my

 The prop on the left will burn way longer than the valve on the right, because of deposit formation.  Image from:  thecarguys.my

The prop on the left will burn way longer than the valve on the right, because of deposit formation.

Image from: thecarguys.my

As illustrated above, the valve that is clean burns far less than the one filled with deposits. This is because the fuel is not stuck on the valve, but flows smoothly to the combustion chamber (leading to better fuel efficiency).

Question & Answer

While the workshop was, in effect, part of Shell’s extensive marketing effort in Malaysia, some of the questions forwarded by the participants were interesting. One participant asked if the cleaning action of the fuel will affect the internals of the engine. Mr. Loke responded that there are strict guidelines in each nation/region that regulate corrosion caused by fuels. I used to hear a rumour that V-Power Racing is a bit more corrosive than normal fuels, but now I know that the damage shouldn’t be significant (next to having explosions in the engine).

I asked Mr. Loke if the additives will reduce the  total amount of octanes in the fuel, since there are so many additives inside. He explained that although there are a substantial amount of additives in V-Power fuels, they are measured in parts per million (ppm), and the benefits obtained from these additives make their inclusion worth it for the consumer.

Another participant asked about the differences in RON95 and RON97 fuels, which started Mr. Loke’s engines, so to speak. He began by explaining that different crude oil batches contain different amounts of aromatic chains (benzenes and the like), and Shell’s distillery will have to choose each batch depending on the total amount of yield that is relevant to the market. According to Mr. Loke, there are about 200+ different components that can be distilled/refined from crude oil. Thus, sometimes, they get a more of RON97, and sometimes more of RON95.

This led me to ponder about V-Power Racing in Malaysia. Why does Shell Malaysia use the word minimum when defining the RON for V-Power Racing (i.e. minimum RON97)? Is it because they sometimes add a mix of higher RON ratings into the petrol?

Another question forwarded by a participant was about V-Power Diesel, and if was in Shell’s plan to offer it in the future. Mr. Loke’s reply was a politically correct one; that the product will be subject to market demands in Asia. Looking at Asia’s (specifically South-East Asia’s) diesel market, Shell would be hard pressed to offer any premium range diesels now. The demand for diesel here in Malaysia is primarily commercial (which has no particular impetus for premium-grade diesel), and private users of diesel cars are still in the minority.

The follow-up question was about sulphur content in diesel fuels in Malaysia.

For those not in the know, sulphur in diesel becomes oxidised during combustion to form sulphur dioxide and sulphur trioxide, and both compounds easily convert into sulfuric acid in the presence of water. Hence, this makes sulphur in diesel an environmental hazard, as the chemical reaction is a known cause for acid rain (not unlike chocolate rain, but which is a psychological hazard). Therefore, it is in everybody’s interest that less sulphur is combusted, especially near one’s homes.

The European Emission Standards (henceforth shortened to Euro) has set sulphur content in diesel to be as follows:

  • Euro I = 2000 parts per million (ppm)
  • Euro II = 500 ppm
  • Euro III = 350 ppm
  • Euro IV = 50 ppm
  • Euro V = 10 ppm

Malaysia currently adheres to Euro II standards (it was 3,000 ppm before 2009) at the minimum, but I personally feel our major cities should offer Euro IV standard diesel as soon as possible. Singapore and Thailand has Euro IV diesel fuels quite readily available (Euro IV only has 10% ppm of sulphur of Euro II, which is a huge leap).

After the humdrum’s and hoohaa’s  were over, we were liberated for lunch and had ourselves some mighty fine lamb cutlets.

Article source from: Image from: thecarguys.my

 Here Vernon ponders the question of life, and why his right leg automatically increases fuel consumption.  Image from:  thecarguys.my

Here Vernon ponders the question of life, and why his right leg automatically increases fuel consumption.

Image from: thecarguys.my