Toyota and Shell Gas & Power launched a trial in the UK of Shell Gas to Liquids (GTL) Fuel in a fleet of ten Toyota diesel cars equipped with D-CAT emission reduction technology. In addition to D-CAT, the commercially available Avensis cars being used in the trial are equipped with Toyotas high-precision, electronically controlled common rail fuel injection system.
Shell GTL is a clean, colourless and synthetic fuel, derived from gas. It is the most cost effective of alternative fuels, and its unique properties – excellent combustion characteristics and virtually free of sulphur – deliver significant emission benefits. Toyota Diesel Clean Advanced Technology (D-CAT) simultaneously and continuously reduces both Particulate and NOx in diesel exhaust gas.
The trial is to demonstrate that low-emission GTL can be used in todays diesel car engines without conversion or additional investment. In addition, when utilized in advanced clean diesel vehicles, such as the commercially available Toyota D-CAT Avensis - emissions are vastly improved without sacrificing performance.
Shell has been an early into the Gas-to-Liquids market, and has announced plans to build the first world-scale manufacturing plant in Qatar, which holds almost 15% of the worlds gas resources. We are seeing increasing interest in GTL from a variety of feedstocks, but most notably natural gas and coal.
Natural Gas, increasingly looked to as a bridge fuel to the next energy economy has a number of good attributes (including being the cleanest of the hydrocarbon fuels)—but ease of transportation is not one of them. Processing Natural Gas into fuel at the upstream production site (as Shell plans in Qatar) makes economic sense; the alternative is to use Liquefied Natural Gas. But LNG requires huge investments on either end and in ships (which are being made). GTL produces liquids, for which we already have a transportation infrastructure in place.