Cruise Ships Tack to a Greener Future

Next year, millions of vacationers will sip Champagne as they watch the sun set over the ocean on Carnival cruise ships. All the while, company engineers will be engrossed by a different set of bubbles—under their vessels. 

In the coming months, Carnival’s engineers will begin pulling 115,000-ton ships into dry dock and crawling beneath the hulls. There, they’ll weld nine mattress-size metal boxes to the outside of each hull in the shape of a “V” and install air compressors inside the vessels. The system, from Silverstream Technologies, will ­create a carpet of tiny air bubbles between the ships and the water. The expected benefit: less drag and 5% to 10% better fuel efficiency, achieving up to $1 million in annual savings per ship. 

“Just one ship is like a floating city consuming energy,” says Mike Kaczmarek, Carnival’s vice president of marine technology. “We’re always looking out for new, cutting-edge advances, and this concept is simple, clever, and it works.” Read More