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Alfa Laval to introduce fluidic air lubrication technology

Alfa Laval to introduce fluidic air lubrication technology
Photo courtesy of Alfa Laval

Alfa Laval has completed its acquisition of Marine Performance Systems B.V., a maritime technology company that has developed the first fluidic air lubrication system on the market based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 

The acquisition will allow Alfa Laval to introduce the patented fluidic air lubrication system, FluidicAL, into the market to support vessels to sail sustainably by improving ship efficiency, reducing fuel consumption, and minimising emissions from ships.

Air lubrication technology is recognised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as an “Innovative Energy Efficiency Technology” to lower carbon emissions.

In 2021, Alfa Laval acquired a minority stake in Marine Performance Systems B.V. With the acquisition, Alfa Laval has now taken the final step to fully integrate the company under its own brand. 

A ship’s friction when sailing is the most significant driver of its fuel consumption, representing up to 60% of a vessel’s operating expenditures. The advanced fluidic air lubrication system from MPS combines fluidics and air lubrication technologies to offer significant reductions in the ship’s friction when sailing. 

According to Alfa Laval, the system is unique in its use of fluidics to generate micro air bubbles with a high degree of control, maintaining an air layer that covers the full flat bottom area of the vessel for maximum effectiveness. The reduction of frictional resistance working on the ship’s hull results in reduced fuel consumption.

“By adding air lubrication system into our portfolio, we are thrilled to further expand our offering of energy-efficient and sustainable solutions to our customers,” says Anders Lindmark, Business Unit president, Heat & Gas Systems, Alfa Laval. “Since 2021, we have been closely supporting the development of MPS’ air lubrication technology and we are impressed with the performance of the fluidic air lubrication systems we have installed on board vessels.”

The fluidic air lubrication technology is expected to have a significant impact on shipping decarbonisation. By reducing the friction, air lubrication not only supports emission abatement but provides substantial fuel cost savings and improvement in overall ship efficiency, at a vessel’s normal service speed and a payback period below three years.

“In today’s maritime industry, solutions that lower the operational costs and minimise emissions are more critical than ever. The air lubrication system from MPS is designed keeping in mind the needs and challenges of the shipping industry. It offers shipowners access to an easy-to-install solution that provides a perfect balance of operational and financial flexibility, while significantly reducing environmental emissions,” says Anders.

The patented FluidicAL system requires no structural modifications or vessel recertification, which makes it ideal for retrofitting as well as for newbuilds. Having a minimal footprint and maximum flexibility, the system can be configured and optimised to the specific vessel’s design and operational profile ensuring integration with existing onboard technology seamlessly.