Cargo ships could start traveling through clouds of bubbles as a means for increasing their efficiency. Air lubrication consists of injecting air into the water underneath a ship to reduce the friction, which should allow the ship to travel faster while using less fuel.
Naval engineers are looking at the tradeoffs between the energy needed to blow air bubbles underneath ships and the benefits in increased efficiency this would provide. At present, they believe this could lead to increased fuel efficiency of 5 to 20 percent for freighters.
This technology is likely to make its first appearance on freighters on the Great Lakes, rather than on ocean-going cargo vessels. "Great Lakes ships tend to have large, flat bottoms – an ideal shape for the technology because air stays underneath the ship instead of bubbling to the surface." However, if it brings efficiency improvements, it can be expected that air lubrication will be adapted to new ocean freighters.
image: via Wikimedia Commons
via: Midwest Energy News
written by Sapoty Brook, January 27, 2012
written by Robert, June 14, 2012
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