A new air lubrication system from Silverstream Technologies has registered energy efficiency savings of 4.3% (ballast) and 3.8% (laden) in sea trials on the 4,000dwt tanker ‘MT Amalienborg’.

Shell funded the installation on the Dannebrog Rederi vessel for the trial, which was independently verified by the Lloyd’s Register ship performance team. The system produces a thin layer of micro bubbles across the flat bottom of the ship, reducing frictional resistance between the water and hull.

“This is a landmark moment for the development of our air lubrication technology, confirming it as a current and commercially viable solution for reducing fuel costs and emissions within the shipping industry,” said Noah Silberschmidt, chief executive officer, Silverstream Technologies.

The system can be added to newbuild designs or retrofitted quickly. It took 14 days to install on the Amalienborg.

The system showed net energy efficiency savings in all analysed cases, which included optimal and non-optimal airflow scenarios. Silverstream and Shell believe that an optimised system could deliver more than 5% efficiency savings when deployed on a full-bodied vessel with a large flat bottom.

A BMT Smart performance monitoring system was fitted to the vessel to record data from the trials. It will continue to monitor the system’s performance over the next 12 months during normal shipping operations.