A Shell tanker served as the pilot for Silverstream Technologies’ air lubrication system, which uses a carpet of microbubbles across a ship’s flat bottom to reduce drag and fuel consumption.

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This story is part of a TradeWinds Business Focus exploring shipping companies that are early adopters across a range of green shipping technologies and fuels.

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And while the energy major continued to serve as an adopter of the technology, more companies have become repeat customers of the UK-based firm’s systems.

Among the big ones is cruise giant Carnival Corp, which signed up last year to adopt the air lubrication system across at least 10 of its ships, bringing the Miami giant’s total “magic carpet” riding fleet to 17 vessels.

Another major adopter of the technology is Italy’s Grimaldi Group, which has adopted it on ro-ros, ropaxes and pure car carriers.

“Contracting-wise, with Shell, Carnival and Grimaldi, each of them have come back to us four, five or six times and done more contracts,” said Silverstream chief executive Noah Silberschmidt.

Another major adopter is MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, although the container shipping giant’s order totals have not been disclosed.

The seal of approval from such major names has helped Silverstream bring its total air lubrication system order count to well over 100 ships.

“I don’t think that today, there’s a single customer, charterer or owner, that’s not ready to listen to air lubrication and mitigating the fuel costs and reducing emissions,” said Silberschmidt.