MHI says AIDA hull bubble lubrication will cut fuel consumption by 7 percent

Written by Nick Blenkey

aida kiss logoJUNE 6, 2012 — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. says that the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS) to be installed on the two AIDA cruise ships to be built at its Nagasaki Shipyard is expected to reduce fuel consumption by approximately 7 percent.(See earlier story).

The AIDA MALS installation will be world’s first on a cruise ship. MHI sees it as a significant milestone for the MALS “as the cruise shipping industry requires definite quality and performance on any devices so this first application in this sector further demonstrates its reliability to the whole shipping industry.”

Outside the cruise sector, MHI reports that it is to provide its conceptual design for a new energy-saving bulk carrier featuring MALS for three grain carriers to be built for Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

MHI completed the new concept design for bulkers following the successful launching of the MALS on module carriers. The bulker concept design promises an approximately 25 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to conventional vessels, thanks to application of the MALS complemented with high-efficiency hull form and improved propulsion system.

The air blown out by the MALS from the vessel’s bottom produces small air bubbles which cover the vessel’s bottom like an “air-carpet,” reduceing friction between the hull and seawater during navigation.

For the MALS, MHI uses special in-house developed high-efficiency blowers and state-of-the-art fluid simulation analysis tools to configure the arrangement of air outlet points to achieve maximum friction reduction at optimized air-blow volume. In 2010, MHI verified the performance of the MALS with an approximately 13% fuel consumption reduction during extensive sea trials on two module carriers that were the first commercial application of the MALS for the vessel in operation.

MHI aims not only to further strengthen its marketing activities for new MALS-installed ships such as module carriers, bulk carriers and cruise ships; it also intends to promote business in retrofitting MALS to existing vessels. Simultaneously, the company will conduct focused marketing activities for its environment and energy-saving related technologies, including licensing of MALS technologies, and also build up its engineering business through provision of eco-ship related technologies and increased sales of energy-saving systems.

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