A revolutionary “air carpet” that cuts resistance between a ship’s hull and the sea and so reduces fuel consumption is to be installed on two 125,000gt cruise ships being built in Japan for AIDA Cruises of Germany, part of the Carnival Corporation, of Miami.
The cruise ships are being built at the Nagasaki shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and will be able to carry 3,250 passengers. Ordered in November, 2011, the ships are to be delivered in the spring of 2015 and 2016.
Each ship will be fitted with the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS) developed by MHI who says the system is expected to reduce the vessel’s fuel consumption by approximately seven per cent. This will be the world’s first installation of the MALS on a cruise ship.
MHI says the MALS reduces fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) by a layer of air bubbles blown out from the vessel’s hull. The air produces small air bubbles which cover the hull like an “air-carpet”, which reduces friction between the hull and water.
The MALS uses specially developed high-efficiency blowers and fluid simulation analysis tools to configure the arrangement of air outlet points to achieve maximum friction reduction at optimized air-blow volume, giving a seven per cent energy-saving.
In 2010, MHI verified the performance of the MALS with an approximate 13 per cent fuel consumption reduction during extensive sea trials on two module carriers which was the first commercial application of the MALS for vessels in service.