New ore transporter tests air lubrication system to reduce drag
Bubble lubrication startup Silverstream Technologies announced Thursday that it has completed the installation of its efficiency improvement system on a new-build Very Large Ore Conveyor (VLOC), the Victoria Sea.
This is the first time that air lubrication technology has been deployed on a VLOC. At nearly 325,000 dwt, Victoria Sea is one of the largest merchant ships in the world. It is the latest in a series of 47 “Guibamax” bulk carriers built for long-term charter to Brazilian mining giant Vale, and is specially designed to transport large quantities of iron ore to China.
Silverstream’s technology creates a carpet of microbubbles at the bottom of the hull, which reduces friction between the hull and the water. This reduces fuel consumption and emissions by 5-10%, depending on the vessel, depending on the company. The technology was chosen by Vale to reduce the company’s emissions profile.
“Vale chose our technology because its proven savings potential fully supports their mission to improve their fleet efficiency,” said Noah Silberschmidt, Founder and CEO of Silverstream Technologies. “The Silverstream system will lead to a radical change in energy efficiency and emissions on the Victoria Sea and prove what is possible on their dry bulk carriers. However, for the industry as a whole, we are also proving that there are steps we can take today to mitigate the environmental impact of our operations. “
Silverstream completed the first installation of its kind despite challenges caused by Covid-19, working with shipowner Pan Ocean, naval architect SDARI and shipbuilders New Times Shipbuilding and Yiu Lian Dockyards (Shekou) Ltd. Silverstream said it was continuing to work with Vale to explore the possibility of installing bubble lubrication systems on board the rest of Vale’s chartered fleet.
Vale is the latest in a growing list of branded companies to commission technology from Silverstream. Other users include Shell, Carnival Corporation, and Grimaldi Group.
Vale strives to reduce emissions from its supply chain by investing in a range of clean technologies for its charter fleet. He is also testing Flettner rotor technology on board the new Guibamax Zhoushan Sea, who (like Victoria Sea) will be owned by Pan Ocean Ship Management. The five-rotor installation could reduce the giant ship’s fuel costs and emissions by about eight percent, according to rotor sail maker Norsepower, thereby reducing the by Zhoushan annual CO2 emissions of around 3,400 tonnes.