Air lubrication offers improved fleet economy and sustainability by reducing friction as vessels move through the water. Yet traditional air lubrication technology has failed to produce the promised results. That changes with fluidic air lubrication, a patented solution from Alfa Laval. The integration of fluidics – the control of fluid pressure and flow by means of precisely shaped channels, without any moving parts – enables reliable propulsion power savings of up to 12%.

Alfa Laval OceanGlide fluidic air lubrication system

A smooth path to energy savings

  • Fluidic technology produces an even, dynamic air layer with few compressors
  • Propulsion power savings of up to 12% lead to lower fuel consumption, reduced CO2 and improved EEDI, EEXI and CII

Fluidics deliver on air lubrication’s promise

The idea of air lubrication is simple: to reduce friction between the vessel hull and the surrounding water by means of an injected air layer. Less drag means less propulsion power needed, which is less fuel burned, less money spent and less CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. In addition, it means less marine noise – with reduced onboard noise as an added benefit.

While the idea is simple, air lubrication has been challenging to realize in practice. Historically, it has required major vessel modifications, which has made it less practical for existing vessels. Alfa Laval OceanGlide changes the equation by integrating fluidics into the solution.

Why does fluidic technology make a difference?

Fluidics is the control of fluid pressure and flow by means of precisely shaped channels, without any moving parts. By combining air lubrication with fluidic technology, OceanGlide enables smarter creation and optimization of the air layer:

  • Tiny, uniform bubbles (which coalesce almost instantly) are produced with very high efficiency by fluidic oscillators, reducing the compressor requirements.
  • An even air layer is generated over the entire flat bottom of the vessel, so that the whole vessel benefits from the reduction in drag.
  • The coverage is provided in sections by air distribution bands, each of which can be independently controlled to optimize the air layer.

With the help of fluidic technology, OceanGlide produces 240,000 bubbles per second and metre, covering the entire flat bottom area.

What can fluidic air lubrication achieve?

The air layer created by fluidic air lubrication reduces friction between the hull and the surrounding water by 50–75%. Alfa Laval OceanGlide yields proven, reliable propulsion power savings of up to 12%, which results in lower fuel consumption, less CO2 output and significantly improved EEDI, EEXI and CII. Yet the solution is quick and easy to install – requiring no sea chests, no large hull penetrations and as little as one compressor.

Fluidic air lubrication Tharsis