Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has started testing a new containership ‘windshield’ technology that it hopes will help cut wind resistance, leading to fuel savings and reduced CO2 emissions.
The new windshield was installed on the bow of the MOL-operated containership MOL MARVEL and a demonstration test of its effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions is under way.
MOL jointly developed the technology with industry partners including MOL Techno-Trade, Ouchi Ocean Consultant, Akishima Laboratory (Mitsui Zosen) Inc., and the University of Tokyo. The project was backed by ClassNK’s “Joint R&D for Industry Program”, which is aimed at promoting wide-ranging research and development in cooperation with industry, government and academia.
“With today’s larger containerships, the height of the containers loaded on their decks has increased, subjecting the vessels to greater wind resistance,” MOL said in a statement. “MOL recognized the need to address this issue in a cost-effective way.”
Development of the new device began with an examination of the bow’s aerodynamics through wind tunnel testing, leading to a horseshoe-shaped design that encloses the front line of the stacked containers to maximize the wind resistance-reducing effect.
The new windshield has enough strength to meet the ClassNK rules concerning wave impact pressure and, by obliquely setting the containers placed along the sides of the vessel behind the windshield, the sides of the vessel will be more streamlined, leading to even greater reduction of wind resistance.
MOL is hoping for an annual average reduction of 2% in CO2 emissions, assuming the device is mounted on a 6,700 TEU containership plying the North Pacific Ocean route at speed of 17 knots. The new windshield is also expected to protect ships from green water on the bow deck when sailing in bad weather.