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Kumiai Navigation’s order for an OceanGlide fluidic air lubrication system is the first for an LPG carrier. The system generates an even, controllable air layer across a vessel’s hull, reducing friction and drag. By decreasing the water resistance, OceanGlide offers a proven method for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as soon as it is installed.

“It is a system that can be installed as a retrofit,” OceanGlide chief executive Frode Lundsteen Hansen told Riviera Maritime Media at Nor-Shipping in June 2023. “Reducing CO2 emissions immediately.”

The OceanGlide system is installed using low-profile bands across the vessel’s hull bottom, which requires few compressors and small hull penetrations. In low-draft conditions, just one compressor is required. The deeper the draft, the more compressors come into play, up to three simultaneously. Installation is done in a matter of days, and can be installed at any shipyard for new or existing vessels without any large vessel modifications or sea chests. Each band can be controlled independently, optimising the air layer for maximum efficiency and compressor power.

The system is deceptively simple: a series of small blocks are attached to the underside of the hull. The system divides the vessel’s flat bottom into sections, each with its own fluidic band. When turned on, the fluidic oscillators produce a homogenous air layer across the entire flat bottom. There are no moving parts under the hull and there are no extensive holes in the hull, and the streamlined profile of the 6-cm bands creates no added drag when the system is not in use.

By producing 240,000 bubbles per metre, the system significantly decreases specific drag by up to 75%. This results in proven savings of up to 12% with a payback time of just two to three years for the system.

Prior to this contract, the OceanGlide air lubrication system has been installed on tankers and inland waterway craft. Tharsis Sea-River Shipping of the Netherlands was the first to install Alfa Laval’s OceanGlide technology, with fuel savings of up to 10% achieved on the coaster Tharsis.

The technology also supports compliance with EEDI/ EEXI and CII requirements laid down by International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.“OceanGlide serves our goal of adopting advanced new sustainable technologies to remain competitive in this challenging market. We are excited to take advantage of the fluidic air lubrication technology to help us decarbonise and contribute towards our carbon reduction roadmap,” Kumiai Navigation managing director Tomo Kuroyanagi said.

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