Maersk to Test Air Lubrication Technology on Boxship

Maersk to test air lubrication system
(file photo)

Published Oct 7, 2021 6:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk has become the latest large shipping company to plan a trial using air lubrication as a tool to help improve vessel efficiency and reduce emissions. An established technology that has been deployed in other segments of the shipping industry, including cruise ships, it is becoming of increasing interest in commercial shipping. Recently, MSC places a record 30-unit order for Silverstream Technologies' air lubrication system.

The technology group Wärtsilä, in cooperation with Silverstream Technologies, will install Silverstream’s proprietary Air Lubrication System on a trial basis on a large container vessel owned by A.P. Moller - Maersk. The Wärtsilä / Silverstream equipment will be delivered during the second quarter of 2022.

During the trial, the companies will work together to examine possible improvements to the ship’s overall efficiency, focusing on the reduction of fuel consumption and associated emission levels. Among the applications they plan to explore is the use of the system for Maersk’s newly-ordered Methanol-fueled containerships. In July, Maersk ordered a smaller 2,100 TEU capacity feeder ship due to enter service in mid-2023 equipped to operate on methanol and followed that a month later with an order for eight 16,000 TEU boxships which will also be fitted with MAN dual-fuel engines to be powered by methanol.

“Everything that we do today inevitably sets the future for coming generations, so we need to act in a positive way to ensure that decarbonizing vessel propulsion is an effective priority for the industry. This is a view that is shared by Maersk, a company with whom we have worked closely for many years. Silverstream’s Air Lubrication System is an important stepping stone along this path,” says Bernd Bertram, Vice President, Propulsion, Wärtsilä Marine Power.

Silverstream’s Air Lubrication System creates a carpet of microbubbles 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 and does not constrain or negatively impact the normal operational profile of the vessel.

“We are delighted that A.P. Moller - Maersk is backing our market-leading technology, which is proven to significantly improve operational efficiency and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions. We also wish to thank Wärtsilä for their collaboration in the delivery of this integrated solution,” says Noah Silberschmidt, Founder & CEO, Silverstream Technologies.