Kumiai Navigation

Kumiai Navigation to retrofit LPG tanker with air lubrication

Singapore-based shipowner Kumiai Navigation (PTE) has decided to retrofit one of its 54k DWT LPG tankers with Alfa Laval OceanGlide fluidic air lubrication technology as a way of cutting the ship’s energy consumption and meeting environmental regulations.

Image credit: Kumiai Navigation

With this order, Alfa Laval has added LPG tankers to vessel types that can benefit from OceanGlide fluidic air lubrication system.

Alfa Laval OceanGlide is a patented system that uses fluidic technology to generate an even, controllable air layer across a vessel’s entire flat bottom, reducing friction and drag. Decreasing a vessel’s resistance results in reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The technology also supports compliance with EEDI/ EEXI and CII requirements laid down by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“In these challenging times, we recognize that reliable partners such as Alfa Laval, are needed to achieve our sustainability goals,” says Tomo Kuroyanagi, Managing Director, Kumiai Navigation.

“We want to invest in green shipping practices to help us lower our power consumption and comply with upcoming environmental regulations. In this effort, OceanGlide fluidic air lubrication is currently one of the best available solutions that offer remarkable gains in improving vessel performance and meeting our environmental targets.

“We value the trust our partner has in our technology and collaboration to help them achieve their goal of sailing sustainably. As the market for OceanGlide fluidic air lubrication grows, we are happy to support our customers in their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency of their fleet as a retrofit or a new build installation,” says Rajiv Sarin, Head of Air Lubrication, Alfa Laval.

Image credit Alfa Laval

“OceanGlide serves our goal of adopting advanced new sustainable technologies to remain competitive in this challenging market. We are excited to take advantage of the fluidic air lubrication technology to help us decarbonize and contribute towards our carbon reduction roadmap,” says Tomo from Kumiai Navigation.

By using fluidic technology a streamlined air layer sections on the vessel’s flat bottom are created and controlled, each with its own fluidic band. The independent steering of each band allows a more controlled airflow to reduce friction between the hull and water. These individually controlled sections serve to minimize drag and ensure maximum coverage, eliminating passive cavities along the vessel’s underside.

Energy expenditure is minimized because there are few compressors and the bands add almost no drag when switched off.

According to Alfa Lavala, air distribution bands are installed easily with minimal hull penetrations, which reduces shipyard time and costs, even as a retrofit. The company says that OceanGlide is proven to reduce specific drag by 50–75% and can provide fuel savings of up to 12% under real-life conditions.

However, the actual amount of fuel savings achieved can vary depending on vessel operations & operator priorities