Cruise Ship Floating on Air

By Keith Henderson at June 07, 2012 08:05
Filed Under: Company News, Research & Development

Carnival Corporation’s German subsidiary AIDA Cruises has two ships on order that will be floating on air. The two 125,00 GT passenger ships each with a capacity of 3,250 passengers is presently under construction at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, Japan, with completion dates scheduled for the second quarter 2015 and second quarter 2016.

Caption: MALS Concept Sketch: Air bubbles covering the vessel's bottom, like a carpet of air.
Image credit: MHI

The air bubbles system to be used is the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS) and uses patented technology whereby high efficiency blowers bleed air bubbles through small holes in the ship’s bottom to produce a carpet of air which reduces friction. Part of the know-how involves the configuration of the air outlet points to achieve maximum friction reduction at optimized air-blow volume.

Initial tests of this system started in 2010 on the heavy lift module carrier Yamatai whose wide shallow draft hull form made it an ideal choice. The friction reduction due to MALS produced a saving in fuel consumption in the region of 13 per cent. In this first application on a cruise ship, MHI predict a fuel saving of around sever per cent for the two AIDA vessels.

The AIDA cruise ships will use a diesel electric propulsion system driving two ABB Azipod XO2100 azimuth thrusters each with a rated output of 14 MW.

Caption: The AIDA cruise ships will be powered by
two 14 MW ABB Azipod XO2100 azimuth thrusters.
Image credit: ABB

Comments (3) -

How technology is moving on today! <a href=""> cruises </a> floating on air, hopefully this will stop the motion sickness people get sometimes.

John |     6/7/2012 12:12:25 PM #


Sorry to say but a thin film of air bubbles on the bottom of a hull will make no difference to the motions of a large cruise ship. What you need to minimise (roll) motions in that case is some large fin stabilisers and sufficient forward motion to make them effective.

Martin |     6/13/2012 7:32:11 PM #

This reduces friction, NOT Roll Motion. This concept works in theory as friction coefficient of air is much smaller as that of water, however, these will soon get blocked up with marine growth, crustatians, etc... The air will also be driven straight into the propellors, which will in turn increase the chances of cavitation and the overall efficiency of these. More info required from manufacture on how these issues are being mitigated accordingly. Comments welcome please. Thanks.

Allan |     6/14/2012 4:11:14 AM #

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