Annual Fuel Savings of $10,000/Vessel Possible From Water-Lubricated Propeller Shaft Bearings: Report

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday September 7, 2022

Peer-reviewed research from engineering company Thordon Bearings has found ships could save at least $10,000 per vessel on their annual fuel bills from using water-lubricated propeller shaft bearings.

The seawater-lubricated bearings reduce hydrodynamic friction compared with conventional oil-lubricated versions, the company said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

The savings calculations are based on Panamax container ships and Aframax tankers running on VLSFO at $870/mt and being operated 70% of the time.

"Reducing friction coefficient is another reason why a seawater-lubricated propeller shaft bearing system pays dividends for ship owners and operators, commercially and environmentally," Craig Carter, vice president for business development at Thordon Bearings, said in the statement.

"When you consider the operational cost of running an oil-lubricated propeller shaft over 25-years, a seawater-lubricated shaft line pales by comparison."

Shipping firms are on the hunt for technologies across their fleets that can cut fuel consumption, both in response to high current bunker prices and the need to cut GHG emissions in the face of upcoming regulations. Companies supplying these technologies are likely to see rapid growth in sales in the coming years.