Wärtsilä Adds Air Lubrication Tech to Product Offering

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday December 2, 2019

Wärtsilä today said it will be collaborating with Silverstream Technologies to add the latter's air lubrication technology as part of its propulsion solution for newbuild vessels.

The deal covers a Licence and Co-operation Agreement for future sales and servicing of the Silverstream System, and aims to help accelerate uptake of the technology across all vessel classes, ranging from small bulk vessels to the largest container ships.

In return, Silverstream customers will get access to Wärtsilä's global service network for the maintenance of their systems.

Air lubrication systems have been available for many years, although uptake has been low amid historically lukewarm industry interest.

The technology attracted particular attention prior to the expected jump in bunker costs ahead of the 2015 introduction of a 0.10% sulfur cap within ECAs - a cost increase that in the end never actually materialzed.

2015 was also when Silverstream installed its first commercial air lubrication system, but that same year Maersk's trial of similar air lubrication technology failed to produce any real-world savings.

Silverstream's partnership with Wärtsilä's comes at a time when bunker saving tech is very much back in vogue, albeit this time with updated messaging to reflect its ability to reduce GHG emissions.

"With the global sulphur cap almost upon us and decarbonisation targets on the horizon, the commercial case for proven clean technology has never been stronger," Noah Silberschmidt, CEO, Silverstream Technologies, said in a statement today.

"Now is the time for ship owners to take action to reduce their operational costs and their impact on the environment, and today's agreement will help unlock the power of air lubrication technology for more vessels across our sector."

The company says that today its technology can cut bunker burn - along with associated emissions - by 5 to 10% depending on vessel type.