The world’s largest container vessel operator A.P. Moller – Maersk will trial an air lubrication system on board one of its vessels to examine possible improvements to overall efficiency, focusing on the reduction of fuel consumption and associated emissions.

Technology group Wärtsilä, in cooperation with Silverstream Technologies, will install Silverstream’s proprietary air lubrication system, the Silverstream System, on one of Maersk’s owned large container vessels for a trial program that will have a special emphasis on the potential application of the system for methanol-fueled ships. The order was placed by Maersk in May 2021, and the equipment will be delivered during the second quarter of 2022.

Silverstream’s air lubrication system creates a carpet of microbubbles that coat the entire flat bottom of the vessel, effectively reducing frictional resistance between the hull and the water.

Noah Silberschmidt, founder and CEO of Silverstream Technologies, said the technology “is proven to significantly improve operational efficiency and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions.”

Wärtsilä, which acts as an authorized sales and service partner for the system, said it has been proven to reduce fuel burn and associated emissions in the range of 5-10%, depending on vessel type.

Bernd Bertram, vice president, propulsion, Wärtsilä Marine Power, said, “Everything that we do today inevitably sets the future for coming generations, so we need to act in a positive way to ensure that decarbonizing vessel propulsion is an effective priority for the industry. This is a view that is shared by Maersk, a company with whom we have worked closely for many years. Silverstream’s Air Lubrication System is an important stepping stone along this path.”

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