Carnival Cruises has inked a £1 million ($1.24 million) deal with a London-based firm Silverstream Technologies that will allow the US cruise line giant to cut fuel consumption by using ‘ a carpet of micro-bubbles ‘.

The Silverstream® System, a type of Air Lubrication System (ALS), pumps tiny bubbles through vents on the hull to reduce friction between the vessel and the water, helping it glide through the ocean.

The technology can reduce fuel consumption by 5-12%, which in turn cuts running costs, according to its developer.

The deal has been supported by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT).

“Shipping is one of the ‘hard to decarbonise’ global industries so we have spent the last few years independently testing our system to support our claims. We want to become a standard on newbuild vessels in the industry and to be the ‘new normal’ for sustainable shipping,” Silverstream Technologies Founder & CEO, Noah Silberschmidt, said.

“Our trade advisor from the Department for International Trade has been instrumental in our recent success with this deal, as they know precisely the type of information that a business needs to tap into these key markets and reach these big companies.”

The company revealed that it has been operating at full capacity in line with government guidelines throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and that it was finalising deals to supply an additional 15 ships in Europe and Asia by the end of the year.

The said deals are expected to double Silverstream’s overall turnover with the increased number of installations.

“Silverstream Technologies shows that innovative solutions are being found to help the maritime sector reach its net zero carbon emissions challenge – and then be exported around the world,” Chair of Maritime UK, Harry Theochari, added.

“The UK maritime sector has committed to Net Zero by 2050 and it is vital that green, balanced growth, is placed at the heart of our recovery from Coronavirus.”

The company has already sealed deals with industry majors Grimaldi Group, Lloyd’s Register, and more recently Shell International Trading and Shipping Company.

Under the framework agreement with Shell, Silverstream has been hired to design, engineer, and execute its air bubble technology on an undisclosed number of LNG carriers.

The retrofit arrangement comes in the wake of long-term cooperation between the duo on developing and testing the technology as the adoption of air lubrication solutions gains momentum in the LNG sector.

The first LNG carrier to be installed with an air lubrication system was delivered in late 2019 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), which also developed the technology. The technology promises fuel consumption cuts of around 5 %.

Named Maran Gas Andros, the 173,400 cbm LNG carrier is owned by Maran Gas Maritime. The Greek shipowner has reportedly decided to install the lubrication system on 12 newbuilds.

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