Sea trials show fuel savings after air lube system retrofit

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Amalienborg in dry dock

FEBRUARY 4, 2015 — A hull air lubrication system that can be retrofitted to existing ships as well as installed on newbuilds is reported to have produced verified fuel savings of up to 4.3% in sea trials on a 40,000 dwt products tanker.

Developed by London headquartered Silverstream Technologies, the Silverstream System produces a thin layer of micro bubbles that creates a single “air carpet” for the full flat of 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.

The sea trials of the Silverstream System on the 40,000 dwt MT Amalienborg, which is owned by Denmark’s Dannebrog Rederi, were funded by Shell and were independently verified by Lloyds Register Ship Performance Team.

The trials showed net average energy efficiency savings of 4.3% and 3.8% for the vessel in ballast and laden conditions respectively. The figures are an average from all raw data captured during each trial, which included optimal and non-optimal air flows. Based on the trials both Silverstream and Shell believe that a fully optimized system has potential to deliver more than 5% efficiency savings on an ongoing basis when deployed on a full-bodied vessel with a large flat bottom.

“This is a landmark moment for Silverstream Technologies and the development of our air lubrication technology, confirming it as a current, and commercially viable solution for reducing fuel costs and emissions within the shipping industry,” said Noah Silberschmidt, CEO, Silverstream Technologies.

Silverstream says the technology can be or quickly retrofitted to an existing ship within just 14 days as was the case for the MT Amalienborg.

“Following this successful trial, we are confident that we can enhance the already significant savings that we have seen,” said Mr. Silberschmidt. “We believe these results show that the Silverstream System can play a crucial role in supporting the shipping industry to increase operational and environmental efficiencies and reduce fuel costs.”

Shell Shipping & Maritime Technology GM Dr. Adri Postema said: “We constantly look for ways to improve our shipping efficiency, both operationally and with innovative technology. Our maritime technical experts worked closely with Silverstream Technologies, Lloyd’s Register and a number of other parties to achieve a successful trial of this promising technology.”

“Given impending stringent environmental regulations that will further increase operational costs, energy efficiency technologies that can reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions are critical in limiting the bottom line impact for ship owners and operators,” said Dannebrog Rederi CEO Johnny Schmoelker. “We are proud to be the first owner to install the Silverstream System and demonstrate the efficiency gains.”
Nick Brown, Lloyd’s Register’s Chief Operating Officer, Marine, in commenting on the project, said: “Shipowners and operators need to trust the savings and return on investment calculations that manufacturers claim. This trust can only be built by ensuring rigor and transparency within the trial process, to ensure the highest level of accuracy in the projected figures that are communicated to the market. The sea trials for the Silverstream System have been conducted in such a way, with independence ensured throughout.”

A BMT SmartAccess and SmartVessel performance monitoring system was fitted to the vessel to record data from the trials and will continue to monitor the system’s performance over the next 12 months during normal shipping operations.



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