Testing new foam formulations,
Shell Technology Centre, India.
Demand for consumer goods that include foams, such as mattresses and seating, is growing significantly in developing countries. Some producers add high quantities of a chemical called toluene diisocyanate (TDI) to the foam mix. However, TDI vapours can rise to levels that may not be safe for workers.
Shell makes polyols – key ingredients in foam manufacture – at our chemical plants in Singapore and the Netherlands. A team at our technology centre in Bangalore developed a new polyol to help customers in developing countries make low-density foams more safely. The result is a new grade of Shell Caradol™ that can make higher quality foam more reliably and safely using less TDI, reducing the risk of releasing toxic vapours during production. The new Caradol™ grade came onto the market in 2010, with first sales in India.
BETTER DRILLING FLUIDS
Shell continues to develop its range of NEOFLO™ drilling fluids to support responsible offshore drilling. Compared to those based on traditional oils, NEOFLO™ drilling fluids are virtually free of aromatic hydrocarbons and are more biodegradable, minimising possible harm to marine life. They comply fully with the offshore discharge requirements set by the US Environmental Protection Agency without compromising technical performance.
NEOFLO™ fluids use the same basic chemical ingredient as detergents. They circulate to cool and lubricate the well during drilling, and help remove the debris.
We are producing NEOFLO™ drilling fluids at our Geismar plant in Louisiana to meet rising demand from customers running drilling operations in Australia, Brazil, Brunei, the USA and West Africa.
The Ecobox™ is a new approach to packaging motor oil developed by Shell. Instead of using conventional plastic bottles, the Ecobox™ houses oil in a flexible plastic liner encased in cardboard. It simplifies transport and storage, leaves less residual oil behind in the container, minimises spills and reduces waste. The Ecobox™ plastic liner generates 89% less plastic landfill waste than the alternative 24 quart (22.7 litre) plastic bottles, while the carton is fully recyclable.
By the end of 2010, the Ecobox™ was being used in more than 3,600 vehicle service centres in the USA and Canada, following its trial in around 200 Walmart sites in 2009. Walmart named Shell Lubricants supplier of the year for sustainability in 2010, citing Ecobox™ as a key factor. High demand prompted a multi-million dollar investment by Shell in the first Ecobox™ production line at one of our lubricants plants in the USA.
We have also redesigned our four- and five-litre plastic containers, 265 million of which are sold each year. The amount of plastic used in these containers has been cut by 10.5%, or 2,500 tonnes per year; equivalent to the weight of more than 2,000 small cars.