Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are testing a new model named ‘whale tail’, in a bid to save fuel consumption using wave energy.

The new invention can be attached to the front of the ships to support vessel forward navigation using wave energy during voyages.

Currently, NTNU performs tests in the Marintek Towing Tank in cooperation with Rolls-Royce and UK-based firms Seaspeed and MOST.

"The foils reduced resistance on the ship by between 9% and 17% at wave heights of under 3m."

In addition, the UK Government is also supporting the project through the ‘InnovateUK’ programme.

The initiative is managed by NTNU Department of Marine Technology postdoctoral fellow Eirik Bøckmann, has been working on this idea for the past several years.

The preliminary tests have revealed that the model ship only takes a few seconds to cross the 200m-long tank as the waves cause the fins to move up and down and navigate the vessel forward.

Bøckmann said: "The foils reduced resistance on the ship by between 9% and 17% at wave heights of under 3m, under the conditions that we’ve tested.

"The resistance can probably be further reduced by optimising the ship’s hull for the wave foils. The foils also reduced the ship’s heaving and pitching by about the same amount as for resistance."

However, the information is still being collected.

According to Rolls-Royce Strategic Research Centre technologist Alastair Sim, the project has a lot of potential if it works the way it is intended.