A Visit to Shell UK

When I was young, I wanted to work in the same place my parents did. I have no idea what their occupation was, I did not know how much it would pay, but I grow up wanting to work in Shell.

I went to visit the Shell Technology Centre Thornton today. It was about an hour ride by bus, and I met a new friend, Willow. Her name reminded me of Jodi Picoult’s ‘Handle With Care’ book (if you haven’t read her book, read it – it is highly recommended!), where the main character, Willow, was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease where bones are brittle. This phrase came to mind:

Willow, I whispered, the name that your father and I had agreed on. I had had to convince him. I won’t call her that, he said. They weep. But I wanted to give you a prophecy to carry with you, the name of a tree that bends instead of breaking.

Yes, sidetracked. Here’s a picture of us:

We reached our destination around two in the afternoon. This may seem childish, but the best part about touring is the part where we get the visitor tag with our name on it ! 😀 (though we have to return it by the end of the trip)

So how did my day go?

Shell is very proud of their partnership with Ferrari, believed to date back to 1936. There are different products that the company provide, including Shell V Power Racing Fuel, Shell Helix Engine Lubricant and Shell KERS (Kenetic Energy Recovery System) Fluid. I find KERS interesting. According to the presenter, it is a fairly new technology that takes the power from breaking the fuel and converting it back to power to be used.

In previous years, the Formula One does not implement any restriction on investment of each teams. Some team would use two engines per race, and this is not very economical . Now, each driver have eight engines for the whole season (~2500 km), so it symbolises that engine life are much longer than before.

Picture from wallpaper4me.com

What amazes me is the fact that 90% of the fuel are made in Thornton and distributed throughout the world. About 50 people are ‘in charge’ of Ferrari, mainly in product development to refine the engine oil that cleans and protects, or fuel with greater horsepower.There is a range of screening tests to determine the performance of oil.

There was something about incorporating a biocomponent into the fuel, but it is not commercially viable yet. The fuel would have more oxygen, less energy density and better performance. Any idea what they are talking about?

Finally, the touring part. There are three choices to choose from and I opt for the Analytical Laboratory.

The company is focusing on algae research. As algae contain lipid, algae are grown and lipid is taken out to be used as fuel. There are interstitial tissues, so there is no need to break the algae open, thus energy intensive.

Algae sample.

through a stereo microscope

Under 100x magnification.

The intensity of green defines the concentration of lipid.



The tour was interesting. After that, there was another coffee break and followed by the most important part: internship and graduate scheme applications. There were many employees that are willing to take the time to share their experiences, including the work visa and stuffs.

Just a short update about the trip. I tagged along with Shiang Lynn, Amy, Pei Hau, Yit Lin, Suhaib, Annis and Nadia for dinner at Al Jazeera and later Moonlight.

Update: I just remembered how lame and funny both cashiers were. In Al JAzeera, we all ate on the upper floor, and when I wanted to pay, the cashier asked me again“Did you use aeroplane to go upstairs to eat? It’s £4.50 then.” I can be even lamer.. I replied him “No, I used rocket instead.” Then, he laughed and told me it was £3.95 LOL. In Moonlight, the ice cream seller pretends to topple my cone ice cream over when I was searching for coins to pay him LOL. 

Time for studying! Anyeong~

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One thought on “A Visit to Shell UK

  1. Hanna says:

    Hello,

    I’m going to Shell Technology Centre in July and am wondering what means of transport is available to get there?

    Thanks

    Reply: Hello! I’m not sure which route to take as it was organised by the university.

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