MHI Apply Bubble Bath Concept to New Container Ship Design

By George Backwell at October 19, 2010 10:38
Filed Under: General

The problem of hull and hull-appendage skin friction efficiency, an important factor in ship architecture, has been addressed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) who recently announced completion of the conceptual design of their ‘New Panamax’ 14,000 TEU container ship which embodies a revolutionary way of reducing this frictional resistance.

Research in the arcane discipline of fluid dynamics has revealed that blowing an interposing layer of air bubbles between a ship’s underwater hull and surrounding seawater reduces frictional resistance, a theory now brought to practical application by MHI with its proprietary Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System, dubbed ‘MALS’.

Last February MHI began sea trials of their innovative MALS system on a heavy lift module carrier, the Yamatai (owned by joint developers NYK-Hinode Line), a vessel whose wide shallow draft hull form made it an ideal choice. Measurements taken from the Yamatai, currently being verified, are expected to show a reduction of 10% in CO2 emissions following the installment of MALS, an event in itself noteworthy as the world’s first air lubrication system to be permanently installed in an ocean-going vessel.

 MHI’s  ‘New Panamax’ 14,000 TEU container ship design, MALS-14000CS, will benefit from knowledge gained through the MALS trials carried out on Yamatai, to give the envisaged container ship a similar 10% cut in its CO2 emissions. However, additional design improvements promise an astonishing 35% total reduction in environmentally harmful emissions.

Main propulsion of the MALS-14000CS is by two electronically controlled diesel engines (fitted with a waste heat recovery system) each powering a separate shaft. Exhaust outlets placed near the stern emit gasses filtered by scrubbers to further reduce environmentally harmful SOx emissions.

The design also promises operators significant fuel savings. The Japan Times Online reported on 15, October 2010 that the General Manager of MHI’s Ship and Ocean Engineering Department, Mr. Takashi Unseki,  predicted that the new container ship will be capable of cutting fuel costs by up to Yen thirty-million annually.




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