Wärtsilä and Silverstream Technologies will install an air lubrication system on a trial basis on one of A.P. Moller-Maersk’s large container ships. Maersk is particularly interested in its potential use for future methanol-fuelled vessels. The trial will examine possible improvements to the ship’s overall efficiency.

The ultimate aim of all three companies is to support efforts to decarbonise shipping operations. The programme will have a special emphasis on the potential application of the system for methanol-fuelled Maersk vessels. Maersk placed the order in May 2021.

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Carpet of micro bubbles

The air lubrication system creates a carpet of micro bubbles that coat the entire flat bottom of the vessel. This carpet effectively reduces frictional resistance between the hull and the water. The technology works in all maritime conditions, is not weather dependent, and does not constrain or negatively impact the normal operational profile of the vessel.

For newbuild vessels, air lubrication can notably improve compliance with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). The system has been proven to reduce fuel burn and associated emissions by five to ten per cent, depending on vessel type.

The Wärtsilä/Silverstream equipment will be delivered to the Maersk vessel during the second quarter of 2022. Wärtsilä is an authorised sales and service partner for the system, which is integrated within the company’s propulsion portfolio.

Picture: The Silverstream System creates microbubbles to reduce frictional resistance, thereby lowering fuel consumption (by Silverstream Technologies).