Animation still of Silverstream's air lubrication systems in action. Imaged Credit: Silverstream.
With IMO 2020 on the horizon and industry attention once again turning to bunker and emission savings, Silverstream Technologies has announced some recent wins for its bunker-saving air lubrication technology.
The systems, first developed several years ago under the company's previous name, DK Group, have shown consistent bunker savings of around 5% by letting a vessel ride on a carpet of air bubbles that reduces friction between the water and the hull surface.
While Silverstream is not the only manufacturer of such technology, that has also had plenty of time to mature - for example, in 2012 Mitsubishi demonstrated 5% savings from its Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS) installed on the ferry Naminoue - its uptake to date has been limited.
But today, Silverstream announced a major win for the firm with an order from Italian shipowner Grimaldi Group SpA to supply air lubrication systems for an order of 12 newbuild Ro-Ro vessels.
As Ship & Bunker reported last October, the air lubrication systems will be installed alongside a host of other bunker and emissions reducing tech including scrubbers and solar panels.
Our system is designed to cost effectively deliver significant emissions reductions
The vessels will also feature batteries to provide at-berth power with zero emissions attributable to the vessel itself.
Set for completion in May 2020, the vessels will become operational by Q3 2020 on Mediterranean ro-ro trade routes.
"This agreement marks an important milestone in the continued proliferation of air lubrication technology in the shipping industry," said Silverstream CEO, Noah Silberschmidt.
"With major environmental regulatory challenges on the horizon, it is important to see key players like Grimaldi stepping forward and proving that solutions to reduce fuel costs and emissions are already available on the market."
In another positive for the company, earlier this month Silverstream said a system installed by cruse giant Carnival Corporation & plc on Diamond Princess has now been deemed a success.
With the system in operation since June 2017, net energy savings (i.e. excluding the additional fuel overhead to power the system) have been verified by Lloyd's Register at over 5%.
"By harnessing a natural phenomenon, the Silverstream System is able to achieve a positive energy balance requiring very little power to generate air," a spokesperson for Silverstream explained to Ship & Bunker.
"In optimal conditions fuel saving is higher. Our system is designed to cost effectively deliver significant emissions reductions."
While the company declined to comment on the dollar cost of such a system, it says the return on investment "is typically between two and five years."
In addition to suitability for newbuilds, they can be retrofitted in 10 days or less and are designed to last the lifetime of the ship.