NYK wins eco award for air lubricated hull

Written by Nick Blenkey
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From left, Makoto Igarashi; Yasuo Tanaka; Manabu Sakai, the parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; and Tatsurou Iwashita

DECEMBER 13, 2013 — An air lubricated hull system developed by Japan’s NYK Group and Oshima Shipbuilding has added another top environmental award to an already lengthy list.

Yesterday, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Award, one of the highest awards in the eco-services category, was presented jointly to Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, the Monohakobi Technology Institute (an NYK Group company), and Oshima Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (head office: Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture) in recognition of the NYK Group’s use of the energy-saving air-lubrication system on its vessels.

The awards ceremony was held in Tokyo at Eco-Products 2013, the largest environmental exhibition in Japan, and attended by NYK managing corporate officer Yasuo Tanaka; Iwashita Tatsurou, director and general manager of the Design Dept. at Oshima Shipbuilding; and Makoto Igarashi, president of MTI.

The air-lubrication system effectively reduces CO2 emissions, thanks to fuel savings generated by use of bubbles generated by air released from the bottom of the vessel to lessen the frictional resistance between a vessel’s bottom and the seawater. In 2010, an air-lubrication system that features a blower that provides air to the vessel bottom was installed on two NYK Group module carriers. A system using the vessel’s scavenging air was subsequently developed and installed on a new coal carrier in 2012, demonstrating the viability of a system for large vessels with deep drafts. The NYK Group is now looking to equip newly built car carriers with this eco-friendly system.

Based on its environmental management vision — “to contribute to the global environment and the creation of sustainable societies by managing environmental risks and arriving at an optimal balance between environment and economy” — the NYK Group has become a tireless promoter of the development of innovative technologies and devices to improve vessel operation and thus reduce negative environmental impacts. Equipping vessels with air-lubrication systems has been highly commended both in Japan and abroad as an approach leading to the prevention of global warming.

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