Boston-based provider of ballast water treatment solutions Ecochlor has entered into a collaborative agreement with air lubrication developer Armada Technologies.
Under the deal, Ecochlor will provide Armada with technical assistance and global sales and marketing support.
The Armada hull air lubrication system aims to augment the interaction between seawater and the hull by ‘diluting’ local seawater viscosity with the injection of compressed air bubbles.
The technology basically reduces frictional resistance between a ship’s hull and water to achieve greater efficiency and reduce fuel consumption and thus also improve ships’ environmental footprint.
According to its developer, it can deliver an estimated fuel saving of 10 – 12% depending on hull design and is effective regardless of fuel type, making it a key technology in transitioning to zero carbon fuels.
The technology is expected to be available to shipowners by the end of 2022.
“This Agreement with Ecochlor, a top-tiered, respected, global company, offers us the strong engineering, sales and marketing support that we need to jump into the maritime industry,” said Alexander Routledge, CEO of Armada,” said
Routledge added that the company’s system is more advanced than any other hull lubrication technology on the market today.
“Armada utilizes the ship’s own forward motion to help drive the system. An eductor is used to draw air in whilst a series of micro bubble emitters distribute the bubble swarm under the ship; this significantly reduces drag, offering clear and immediate benefits to any shipowner looking to reduce emissions on their ships,” he pointed out.
Armada was founded in 2020, supported by T-Trig 20 grant from the UK’s Department for Transport. The company proved its concept in April 2021 using Newcastle University’s Emerson Cavitation tunnel. The company has secured T-TRIG grant funding this year as well.
It is now working with a number of universities, technology companies, merchant vessel operators and financiers in the UK, Europe, and the US together with the DfT with the aim of installing the system on a demonstrator vessel in mid-2023.
“I am very excited to introduce the Armada system to the maritime industry. In comparison to hull lubrication competitors, the Armada system has a relatively low installation and operating cost. Its unique design uses less power than other hull lubrication technologies, decouples speed from drag reduction and is easier to maintain. This provides an economic payback to the shipowner within a shorter period of time. A complete win for owners looking to reduce their carbon footprint whilst reducing costs,” Andrew Marshall, Ecochlor CEO commented.
The deal is part of Ecochlor’s long-term diversification strategy as the company seeks to offer additional ”green marine” technology solutions to shipowners.