A Moment To Cherish For The Shipping Industry


  • Admirable engineers Friedrich Mewis and Dirk Lehmann have revolutionized the shipping world with the Becker Mewis Duct (BMD). savings plethora of fuel and reduction in emission of harmful greenhouse gasses.
  • Their achievement will be honored with this year’s German Environmental Award.
  • With this, hopes of zero emission being prioritized by the politicians has caught wind.

The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU—Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt) is all set to present Mr. Friedrich Mewis and Dirk Lehmann with the German Environmental Award, one of Europe’s most prestigious awards. The two engineers will share the total sum of 500,000 euros with the biologist Dr. Christof Schenck. President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier will present the 2022 German Environmental Award in Magdeburg on October 30.

 A blend of state of the art research and Entrepreneurial Courage

DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde says that it is extremely important to “bring the shipping industry in line with climate requirements”. International shipping industry accounts for  almost three percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions..

The collaboration between the two engineers is an epitome of fructuous cooperation between technology and entrepreneurship for innovation. It is calculated that the BMD has saved around twelve million tons of CO2 since 2008—corresponding to approximately the annual CO2 emissions of Tanzania or Hamburg. Bonde remarks: “The key factors here are the increase in efficiency brought about by the Becker Mewis Duct and the positive impact on the environment…”

 When experience meets Inventions!

The collaboration between Mewis (79) and Lehmann (58) dates back to 2001. Mewis was already a reputed shipbuilding innovator while Lehmann was the new head of the medium-sized maritime company Becker Marine Systems based in Hamburg. Mewis, a Wittenberg born, initially worked at the Potsdam shipbuilding research institute after studying shipbuilding, before moving to the Hamburg shipbuilding research institute in 1996. Lehmann is a proud Hamburger and also has numerous patents. In addition to his main job, he is a shareholder in start-ups working in electric and hydrogen mobility. 

An Idea is Born

The erstwhile focus of the duo was on enhancing rudders for very large container ships but began working more intensively on other areas from 2007. It all boiled down to the question of how the efficiency of large, slow, “full-form” ships could be increased—from tankers to bulkers, in other words bulk carriers for ore, grain, and other materials. At some point down the line, Mewis came up with a dazzling idea—to combine different, already existing, components.

The Becker Mewis Duct was thus born—a hydrodynamic energy-saving duct positioned in front of the propeller, or an “energy-saving device”. Weighing up to 60 tons, and with a diameter of up to seven meters, it is produced in two halves that are welded together on the ship. Lehmann believed strongly in this invention, pressed ahead with it with great passion, convinced doubters, and overcame the necessary red tape.

In the words of Lehman, “It’s like cutting a yogurt pot crosswise and positioning it behind the box as a funnel—and in front of the propeller. This bundles the water together.”

Protecting the environment through technology

As a technical refinement, asymmetrical flow-guiding parts, known as fins, were integrated into this front duct. In short: the working principle for the Becker Mewis Duct. Lehmann: “The result is a negatively generated swirl in the opposite direction to the propeller rotation.”  The Becker Mewis Duct has so far been installed in 1,400 vessels worldwide, with 300 more soon to follow. 

With this groundbreaking achievement eyes will be on politicians to press the pedestal on zero emissions in the shipping industry.

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Source: Realwire


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