Shell Starship 3.0 to explore potential of RNG

Shell is boldly going into the world of renewable natural gas (RNG), using the fuel to power the latest version of its aerodynamic Starship truck.

It’s the third iteration of the space-age-looking configuration, first showcased in 2018.

Central to the powertrain will be a Cummins X15N engine.

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

Shell Starship 3.0
Attendees at ACT Expo were among the first to catch a glimpse of Shell Starship 3.0. (Photo: John G. Smith)

Lightweight and aerodynamic components will travel on low rolling resistance tires from Bridgestone.

A demonstration run scheduled in August will travel from San Diego, Calif., and Jacksonville, Fla., matching a trip traveled by its predecessors. The North American Council for Freight Efficiency will monitor results – with a focus on ton-miles of goods shifted per kilogram of emitted CO2.

Unlike miles per gallon alone, ton-miles per gallon considers the amount of freight being moved as well as the fuel consumed.

The previous version of the bullet-shaped combination achieved 254 ton-miles per gallon on the cross-country trip, bettering the North American average of 72 ton-miles per gallon, and beating the 178 ton-miles per gallon of the first Starship. It also carried 18% more payload, which weighed in at 47,100 lb.

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