More ships running on air

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 10 December 2018


Silverstream Technologies, which is pioneering air lubrication systems has welcomed what it says is a changing mindset from ship owners and operators that is stimulating an increase in the uptake of proven clean technologies, and, in particular, enthusiasm for air lubrication technology as a fuel and emissions reduction solution.

The company recently announced a major deal with Grimaldi Group to install the Silverstream system on 12 new ro-ro carriers. This follows the news that Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise vacation company, has also successfully retrofitted the technology onto the Diamond Princess from its Princess Cruises brand.

However, Silverstream also stressed the importance of manufacturers continuing to demonstrate rigour and transparency in R&D, and, ultimately, showing proven efficiency savings, in ensuring that the trust of ship owners and operators in new clean technologies coming into the market is maintained. Noah Silberschmidt, CEO, Silverstream Technologies, said, “It is heartening to see shipping’s innovating spirit rise to the surface and for clean technologies, and in particular air lubrication, to be recognised as a commercially viable solution to both the industry’s impending regulatory challenges and its growing demand for increased operational efficiencies and sustainability.

“A multifaceted and complicated regulatory environment is now unfolding for the sector; the impending 2020 fuel sulphur content cap and the acceptance of the need to decarbonise are both creating the context for clean technologies in an unprecedented fashion. As fuel prices rise as a result of regulation, owners will need a way to mitigate costs. Clean technologies are one of the best means to achieving this, but only if those solutions are credible, means-tested and proven. This proof is doubly important in a market of low liquidity, with owners and operators conceivably facing existential challenges about the future of their fleets. This means that they should only make an investment when faced with clear proof that a system works as it claims in terms of efficiency benefits.”

As part of its advocacy work with IMO, Silverstream is part of the Global Industry Alliance, a public-private partnership initiative of the IMO under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloMEEP, the aim of which is to support the uptake and implementation of energy efficiency measures for shipping, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the industry.

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