Silverstream to Install Air Lubrication Systems on 30 Container Ships

File image courtesy Silverstream

Published Sep 22, 2021 2:41 PM by The Maritime Executive

Number-two container carrier MSC has decided to invest in a well-established technology to boost efficiency for a raft of new conventionally-fueled ships. It has put in a record 30-unit order for Silverstream Technologies' air lubrication system, which jets out a thick carpet of air bubbles under the bottom of the hull in order to reduce drag. 

"As part of our significant efforts to further improve our environmental performance, we are continuously on the look-out for new innovative solutions that could help us achieve efficiency gains," said MSC head of newbuildings Giuseppe Gargiulo. "Air lubrication technology is one of the proven technologies that can help ships to achieve fuel savings and reduce energy losses."

The technology will help reduce these vessels' emissions at the margins, cutting lifetime carbon dioxide releases by about 5-10 percent. That translates into a reduction of as much as 1.6 million tonnes of CO2, saving MSC an estimated $300 million on bunker costs over the lifetime of the vessel. 

It is easily the largest order for an air lubrication system ever placed, according to Silverstream, and it is a vindication of the company's years-long effort to gain commercial acceptance at scale. After its founding in 2010, Silverstream secured its first one-ship trial with Shell in 2014, followed by contracts for Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines. More recently, it has even installed a system on a very large ore carrier (VLOC) for Brazilian mining giant Vale. "Adding . . . .to the list of segments that we serve with our technology once again underlines its widespread applicability across the global fleet, and issues a challenge for more owners and operators to follow suit and become industry leaders by adopting the Silverstream System,” founder and CEO Noah Silberschmidt said at the time. 

MSC has answered that challenge, taking the startup company into the big leagues with a large book of business for a large brand-name operator.