Although we have a general energy-saving figure of 10% to run by, it remains to be said that gaining a perfectly accurate number on how much money a clean hull will save you is a little bit hard to pinpoint, due to vessels experiencing many variables on the water which can skew results – such as wind speed, sea conditions, and trim.
However, a recent study from The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research
simulated the efficiency losses of a poorly maintained hull, by comparing steel plates covered in varying concentrations of artificial barnacles. The steel sheets were towed through a pool of water, which remained a constant. The experiment was successful in controlling for external factors and focussed solely on the effects of fouling on levels of frictional resistance. The resulting data showed that for a containership of 230m, at a speed of 24 knots, if even only 10%
of the hull was fouled with small barnacles (less than 2.5mm in height), the frictional resistance increased by 27%, which creates a critical amount of drag and an additional power increase of 17.5%
needed to make up for said drag. Additionally, if 10% of a hull was covered in medium-sized barnacles (less than 5mm in height), the frictional resistance increased by a whopping 49%
, requiring a power increase of 31%
in order to compensate.
New studies such as mentioned above are showing that a well-maintained hull is the way to go to save fuel and cut emissions. Additionally, with data-driven blue economy technologies such as the BAR15, you gain the ability to no longer only rely on wider tests and studies, but to see precisely how your
vessel is being affected by its specific working environment, as well as which maintenance techniques and timings produce the greatest performance and cost-efficiency.
With Maersk and other industry leaders pushing toward reducing emissions, it is expected to see a trend of vessel operators utilizing more data-driven maintenance techniques, to ensure peak performance, cost-savings, and a lower-emission future.