The Patent

2014 03 07 Binnenvaartschip kleur archief

OCT-13-079: The air cavities system for vessel drag reduction

Inventors: Ir. Oleksandr Zverkovskyi
Prof. Tom van Terwisga
Prof. Jerry Westerweel

PhD candidate Oleksandr Zverkovskyi is from the Ukraine, and this has its advantages. Russian science remains largely closed to anyone who cannot speak the language, but Zverkovskyi can. This is convenient, because Russia is one of the four countries where considerable research is being conducted on air lubrication.
This is a technique in which air is used in various ways to reduce the resistance between the underside of a ship and the water, thus saving fuel.

The Dutch company Damen Shipyards holds a patent for a concept based on air chambers on the underside of a ship. Zverkovskyi’s idea of small thresholds on the underside achieves the same drag reduction achieved by this concept (10%–20%) but is easier to produce according to its inventors.
Before it can be introduced to the market, the idea will require extensive testing on a real ship. To date, it has only been tested on a laboratory scale. If the outcomes are favourable, it will be only a matter of time before it can be brought to market, predicts Zverkovskyi’s main supervisor, Tom van Terwisga. The industry has already expressed interest. “Half of the costs incurred by inland waterway vessels are for fuel. Reducing fuel by 10%–20% would
increase profits.”

Zverkhovskyi will defend his dissertation on this topic on 28 March 2014.

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