Wartsila has collaborated with Silverstream Technologies to deploy the latter’s air lubrication system on board an AP Moller-Maersk-owned large container vessel on a trial basis.

The trial will focus on potential improvements to the vessel’s efficiency, with a focus on reducing fuel consumption and related emission levels.

Special focus will also be paid to the potential application of the air lubrication system for Maersk vessels run on methanol.

Maersk placed the order with Wartsila in May.

Silverstream’s air lubrication system produces a carpet of microbubbles that coat the flat bottom of the ship completely.

This coat of microbubbles helps in reducing frictional resistance between the hull and the water.

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As this system is not weather dependent, it can function in all maritime conditions.

Furthermore, it does not limit the normal operational profile of the ship.

Silverstream Technologies founder and CEO Noah Silberschmidt said: “We are delighted that AP 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 Wartsila for their collaboration in the delivery of this integrated solution.”

Wartsila Marine Power propulsion vice-president Bernd Bertram said: “Everything that we do today inevitably sets the future for coming generations, so we need to act in a positive way to ensure that decarbonising 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.”

The Wartsila/Silverstream equipment is slated for delivery during Q2 2022.

Air lubrication for newbuild vessels is also claimed to enhance compliance with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).

Based on the vessel type, Silverstream’s system is claimed to cut down fuel burn and associated emissions by 5% to 10%.

Last month, Samsung Heavy Industries and Wartsila entered into a joint development programme agreement to develop ammonia-powered ships with four-stroke auxiliary engines for future newbuild projects.