MHI tested the system on the Ferry Naminoue
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) says testing shows its "air lubrication system" has reduced fuel consumption by more than 5 percent on a new ferry.
MHI said the tests show that its technology, first introduced in 2010, works for high-speed, slender hull-form ships.
The Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS) was installed on the Ferry Naminoue, a ship owned by Japan's A-LINE Ferry Co. that went into service on September 27, 2012.
The system, which blows air from the bottom of the vessel to make an "air-carpet" of bubbles on the ship's underside, reducing friction, was first used on two module carriers.
In June, the company announced it had installed the system in a cruise ship for the first time.
The newest version, designed for ferries with a comparatively small flat area on the ship bottom, reduced fuel consumption by 5 percent even with waves as high as 2.5 to 3 metres.
The bubbles also provide a cushion to reduce noise and vibration, improving passenger comfort, MHI said.