Alfa Laval takes a stake in hull air lubrication innovator

Written by Nick Blenkey
Sameer Kaira

Sameer Kalra, President of Alfa Laval’’s Marine Division: “This innovative friction reduction technology further expands our toolbox for sustainable shipping.”

Aiming to expand its toolbox for sustainable shipping, Alfa Laval today acquired a minority stake in a company developing a technology for which its founder, Gustaf de Laval first registered a patent in 1883: hull air lubrication.

Gustaf de Laval was looking at the solution as a speed increaser and it was never commercialized. Today, though the focus is all on fuel savings.

The company that Alfa Laval has just invested in, Netherlands-based Marine Performance Systems, has patented an innovative technology claimed to achieve significant fuel savings by reducing a ships’ friction when sailing. The patented solution can be installed on vessels of any size or fuel type and is also suitable for retrofit.

Marine Performance Systems’ air lubrication technology generates micro bubbles under the ship’s hull, reducing friction between the ship and the water by 50-70% enabling net fuel savings of 8-12%, during normal service speed. The technology was first tested on a sea-going vessel in 2020 and the results have been confirmed by the shipowner during several months of operation.

A ship’s friction when sailing is the most significant driver of its fuel consumption and the cost of fuel represents up to 60 percent of a vessel’s operating expenditures. Fuel consumption has also a direct impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as reducing 1 ton of fossil fuel consumption equals the reduction of approximately 3 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

“This innovative friction reduction technology further expands our toolbox for sustainable shipping, and with investments like this we continue to support our marine customers in their transition to more efficient and sustainable operations,” says Sameer Kalra, President of the Marine Division.

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