Water resistance means cargo ships burn more fuel, but what if they didn’t float in the water but rode on air instead?


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If you don’t care that much about bubbles on a ships hull then consider this, not only is it a great way to reduce the amount of water friction on a ships hull and reduce energy consumption, but when adapted to submarines, as the Americans, Chinese, and Russians have been doing for a while now, it could create an entirely new class of supersonic submarines and underwater torpedoes – like this 200 knot prototype.


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Now though in a more conventional application of the technology clean technology company Silverstream Technologies today announced that it has reached an agreement with Klaveness Combination Carriers (KCC) to install an innovative new version of its proven air lubrication system, the Silverstream System, on up to 11 vessels, including three CABU II class and eight CLEANBU class vessels.


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The Silverstream System uses a series of Air Release Units (ARUs) in the vessel’s flat bottom to generate a uniform carpet of microbubbles that travel the full length of the hull, reducing friction between the hull and the water and substantially reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions as a result. Silverstream’s patented technology maximises these net efficiency gains through the system’s low power consumption and highly effective delivery of microbubbles into the boundary layer.


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The retrofit installations will commence in early 2023 and take two years to complete. The collaboration between Klaveness and Silverstream Technologies has resulted in a pioneering solution suitable for any standard tanker and bulk carrier of this size. The deal enables KCC to further enhance the already market-leading environmental performance of its combination carrier fleet.

With its capability to carry both types of cargo and other design improvements, KCC’s vessels emit up to 40% less CO2 per ton-mile compared to standard tanker or bulk carriers in similar trading patterns – a high performance benchmark that will be boosted by the installation of the Silverstream® System.

Speaking on the deal, Noah Silberschmidt, Founder & CEO of Silverstream Technologies, said: “We are delighted to sign this deal with KCC and begin work to retrofit our technology across its fleet. KCC has a strong and well-deserved reputation for being a sustainability leader and a genuinely green-minded innovator, and we are confident that our system will help to boost these credentials even further.


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“The deal also proves Silverstream’s ability to take on complex retrofit projects and again underlines the attractiveness of our unique technology to a wide range of shipping segments and vessel operations. It also strengthens our ability to be able to serve unique vessel types and positions us perfectly to scale up adoption of our solution in both dry bulk and tanker shipping.

“Shipping has precious little time to act on its environmental footprint and proven clean technologies like the Silverstream System are one of the only ways that owners and operators can get ahead of the curve. We look forward to further scaling our technology across a range of vessel types and fleet sizes in the near future.”


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Engebret Dahm, CEO of KCC, added: “Maximising the energy efficiency of our fleet is a top priority for KCC. It is a prerequisite for reaching our decarbonisation targets and succeeding with the future energy transition. We are pleased to conclude the deal with Silverstream and to start the installation of Silverstream’s innovative and proven air lubrification system on two of vessels in 2023, with the intention to roll out the system on a further nine vessels during 2024 and 2025.

“Silverstream’s system is an important part of a larger planned energy efficiency retrofit programme at KCC, which will aim to further strengthen our lead as the lowest carbon shipping provider in the dry bulk and tanker markets.”

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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