Combination of regulatory pressure to reduce emissions and higher prices for green fuels is behind a surge of orders for air lubrication technology, now standing at more than $100m, at London-headquartered Silverstream.
The company currently has an orderbook of 73 vessels covering large containerships and ore carriers, LNG carriers, ro-ros, and cruiseships. Ten of these are already in the water, with a further 10 expected this year.
Chief executive Noah Silberschmidt, formerly an investment banker and once a keen windsurfer, saw a gap in the market for technology that reduced frictional resistance through water.
He founded Silverstream in 2010, with the first installation four years later on a Dannebrog Rederi-owned tanker, under charter with Shell.
There followed a period of testing and verifications, with a retrofit to a Princess Cruise vessel and installation in a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel in 2016.
The tide turned in 2018 and 2019 with orders for air lubrication systems for nine ro-ro newbuildings under construction for Grimaldi and a further three for its subsidiary Finnlines.
In 2020 and 2021, a slew of orders came from Shell for 174,000 cu m LNG carriers, from Vale for a 325,000 dwt ore carrier, from Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines.
Container ship orders in 2021 came from Maersk and MSC, and in 2022 a further nine orders were secured for container ships of 16,000teu capacity.
Three owners have just signed up for fleet deals.