Sea trials of a novel air lubrication technology indicate efficiency improvements of more than 4 percent. The trials took place on Amalienborg, a 40,000dwt product tanker owned by Danish shipping company Dannebrog, and were independently verified by Lloyd's Register.
"This is a landmark moment for the development of our air lubrication technology, confirming it as a commercially viable solution for reducing fuel costs and emissions," said Noah Silberschmidt, CEO of Silverstream Technologies, the company behind the system.
The trials showed net average energy efficiency savings of 4.3% and 3.8% for the vessel in ballast and laden conditions respectively. These figures represent an average over the course of each trial, including optimal and non-optimal air flows. Silverstream, and its partner Shell, believe that a fully optimised system could deliver more than 5% savings when deployed on a full-bodied vessel with a large flat bottom.
Silverstream works by producing a thin layer of micro-bubbles that create an 'air carpet' along the flat bottom of the ship. This reduces the frictional resistance between the water and hull and improves the vessel's operational efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions. It can be installed during newbuild, or retrofitted to an existing ship as was the case for Amalienborg.
A BMT SmartAccess and SmartVessel performance monitoring system was fitted to the vessel to record data from the trials. This will continue to monitor the system's performance over the next 12 months during normal shipping operations.