Kongsberg: New ‘super-efficient’ bulker design unveiled

Norwegian technology company Kongsberg Maritime has unveiled a new ‘super-efficient bulker’ vessel design concept.

Kongsberg Maritime

In response to the growing regulatory pressures on emissions and fuel efficiency, Kongsberg Maritime has developed the vessel design with Finnish ship design firm Deltamarin.

The company selected a Kamsarmax bulker of 82,000 dwt as the basis for the new design. The partners explored various technologies to enhance the efficiency of the bulk carrier.

Specifically, the ship design incorporates a combination of three tiltable rotor sails and two suction wing sails. According to Kongsberg, this dual approach will maximize wind power usage, adapting to varying wind conditions to ensure optimal performance. 

Moreover, the future vessel will have a hull form that will trap bubbles from an air lubrication system to maximize the effects of resistance reduction and a patent application has been made to implement this concept.

By trapping air bubbles beneath the hull, the system significantly reduces frictional resistance. The inclined hull, with a 1-degree slope from bow to stern, and vertically turned bilge keels create ‘walls’ to keep bubbles in place, enhancing fuel savings, according to the Norwegian company.

“Emphasising the benefits of slow steaming, the vessel operates at a reduced speed, balancing fuel efficiency with operational viability. A 1-knot speed reduction contributes to substantial savings in fuel, emissions, and maintenance costs,” Kongsberg said.

Furthermore, the vessel will integrate a hybrid shaft generator with frequency control to optimize electrical power usage and reduce emissions. This system supports the increased electric load from wind propulsion devices and air lubrication compressors.

“Ship owners face significant challenges in meeting tighter regulations. While low-carbon fuels are an option, many prefer to stick with conventional fuels. Our goal was to design a vessel capable of complying with predicted CII regulations throughout its lifetime, using advanced energy-saving technologies,” Oskar Levander, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Kongsberg Maritime, explained.

“This project has been a real eye-opener. The combination of advanced technologies creates significant savings, making our new design a game-changer. With a short payback period of five years, this vessel represents a smart investment for ship owners looking to reduce costs and meet future compliance targets,” he concluded.