KCC equips MV Ballard, youngest CABU ship, with Silvestream’s air bubble tech

Klaveness Combination Carriers (KCC) has revealed that MV Ballard, the youngest vessel in the CABU fleet, has completed dry dock and a series of sea trials after installing an air lubrication system developed by Silverstream Technologies.


The Silverstream System uses a series of air release units (ARUs) located along the flat bottom of the vessel. Oil-free compressors generate pressurized air that is sent through the ARUs, creating a uniform layer of microbubbles that traverses the hull, thereby reducing the friction between the hull and water. MV Ballard is the first KCC ship to feature this technology. The company expects that this will lead to a decrease in net fuel consumption and the subsequent CO2 emissions.

Additionally, several other technologies were installed onboard the ship. These include:

  • WE Tech shaft generator – Converts rotational energy from the propeller shaft into electric power to supply the Silverstream system and other onboard systems. This generates electricity more efficiently from main engine, instead of the less efficient auxiliary engines.
  • Becker Mewis Duct – A custom-designed hull appendage that improves propeller inflow hydrodynamics.
  • Welding seem fairing – A material is applied to welding seams that are created where the steel sheets of a ship’s hull meet, thereby smoothing the hull and reducing friction.
  • Silicon paint – An application of friction-resistant anti-fouling paint to further improve hull performance.
  • Kongsberg Ship Performance System – This provides real-time, high-frequency sensor data to onshore locations.
  • Starlink internet system – This will ensure high-speed, low-latency and high-capacity internet connectivity to facilitate digital collaboration and data exchange between the ship and shore.

“The implementation of these efficiency improvements illustrates our commitment to take a front-runner position in delivering cost-effective decarbonization to our customers. We remain steadfast in our journey to implement a wide range of energy and operational efficiency technologies on our current fleet while we, in addition, prepare for the later utilization of zero-emission fuels on our newbuilds,” CEO Engebret Dahm commented.

According to KCC, should all technologies deliver in line with KCC’s expectations, an energy efficiency improvement of around 15% is anticipated aboard the vessel. Following MV Ballard, CLEANBU MV Baru is scheduled for a Silverstream® System retrofit in November 2023.

As part of its decarbonisation strategy, KCC signed a deal for the construction of three third-generation CABU vessels with Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. and Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding Co. in June this year.

Compared to the existing CABU vessels built 2001-2002 that the newbuilds will replace, the vessels are estimated to have 25-30% higher earnings capacity and around 35% lower CO2 emissions due to increased cargo carrying capacity and substantially lower fuel consumption.

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