“Whale Tail” Powered Ships to Reduce Bunker Consumption.

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Image credits: MARINETEK

Eirik Bockmann, a post-doctoral fellow at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) – department of Marine Technology and his team of researchers are testing a new concept aimed to save on bunker consumption.

The research team has closely observed movements of  ‘Whale and its tail’ and inducted the same concept for gathering wave energy. Tests are being done on the “Whale Tail” model supported by UK companies Rolls-Royce, Seaspeed and Marine One Stop Technologies (MOST).

The core concept of the “Whale Tail” model is to gather wave energy for propulsion. The model uses fins referred as “Wave Foils”, which plays a critical part in gathering wave energy.

“Preliminary results look promising, even though tests are still in their early stages. The foils reduced resistance on the ship by between 9% and 17% at wave heights of under three metres, under the conditions that we’ve tested. The resistance can probably be further reduced by optimising the ship’s hull for the wave foils”, said Mr. Bockmann. 

The waves that hit the 1:16.57 scale model ship will cause it to move, which then will make the fins go up and down just like a whale’s tail, while the shape of the fins harnesses the energy from the waves to help the ship move forward.

Tests are underway at a Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute (Marinetek) towing tank facility.

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