Irish Ferries Takes on Bunker-Saving Air Lubrication Systems

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday January 31, 2023

Irish Ferries is the latest company seeking to take on air lubrication systems as a means of cutting bunker consumption and GHG emissions.

Armada Technologies has signed a deal with Irish Ferries to carry out a feasibility study and integration engineering to retrofit the ropax cruise ferry W.B. Yeats with an air lubrication system, the company said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

The systems allow ships to travel on a bubble of air, reducing friction between the hull and surrounding water and thus cutting fuel use.

"Armada's passive air lubrication system is a second-generation system that uses the vessel's own forward motion to drive water through a series of openings near the bow region of the vessel," the company said in the statement.

"These openings direct system water through branch lines to venturis and injectors that then passively delivers an optimal air/water mix (rather than simply air) for hull lubrication of unparalleled efficacy."

The system requires less energy than other air lubrication models, CEO Alex Routledge said in the statement.

"One of the major complaints shipowners have about using air lubrications systems is the requirement to continually run compressors during voyages which can reduce or eliminate any real benefits in energy efficiency," he said.

"With PALS we operate a small number of low energy pumps and blowers instead of compressors to deliver greater system control and drag reduction optimization that is better aligned to the vessel's prevailing speed, draft and weather conditions."