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Air Lubrication System cuts fuel consumption and emissions by up to 10%

In today’s maritime industry, solutions that lower operational costs and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are more important than ever. Wärtsilä is an authorised seller and servicing partner of the Silverstream® System – an innovative and proven air lubrication system that reduces frictional resistance by creating a carpet of microbubbles on the full flat bottom of a vessel’s hull. The system can reduce fuel consumption and associated GHG emissions by up to 10%.

A proven technology to cut fuel consumption and emissions

The Silverstream® System is a unique air lubrication technology that reduces the frictional resistance of the vessel by creating a carpet of microbubbles that coats the majority of the flat bottom of a vessel’s hull. The microbubbles, measuring 1–3mm in diameter, are generated by air release units (ARUs) in the bottom of the hull.

The system works in all sea conditions, is not weather dependent and does not constrain or negatively impact the normal operational profile of the vessel. The fuel savings and emissions reduction potential of the system have been proven by independent third parties including Shell, HSVA, Lloyd’s Register and the University of Southampton. 

Air Lubrication System

Key benefits

  • Cut fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 10%
  • Gain operational flexibility by trading fuel savings for increased vessel speed as needed
  • Improve the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for newbuilds and the future Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) for existing vessels
  • Benefit from lifecycle service and support for the vessel’s entire lifespan

Vessel applications

The Silverstream® System is suitable for a wide range of vessel types – both retrofits and newbuilds – including LNG carriers, RoPax/RoRo vessels, bulkers, container vessels, tankers and cruise vessels.

system lay-out sketched in vessel

The system consists of the following components:

  • ARUs: installed at the leading edge on the bottom of the hull, within the bottom; the number of ARUs is dependent on the size of the vessel
  • Compressors: low-pressure oil free compressors connected to the ARUs
  • Piping and valves: piping connects the compressors and ARUs, while non-return valves passively regulate pressure
  • Control and automation: data feeds (speed and air flow) from the vessel are used to regulate the compressors; there is also a basic interface with the vessel automation system for alarms and monitoring
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