Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System

By Aybars OruçCompany engineers of Mitsubishi, Japan’s heavy industry brand, have been working on a new system for the ships, with the aim of reducing fuel expenditure and CO2 emissions. This new developed system is originally called Air Lubrication System.

With the help of this Air Lubrication System, a layer between the hull of the ship and the sea water has been formed so that the friction occurred there is then planned to be reduced as much as possible, thereby providing significant fuel savings and reduction of at least (10-15) % percent of CO2 emissions to achieve.

The working principle of Air Lubrication System is quite simple. Holes are symmetrically opened to Port and Starboard sides along the ship’s line of the spine. Air, supplied either from a separate system or from the ship’s own air circuit supply system that is adapted to the current Air Lubrication System, has been allowed to pass through these holes opened in the base of the vessel into the sea water. These air bubbles of diameter ranging between 2-3 mm are then to create a layer similar to the airbag between the ship’s hull and the sea-water.

Engineers of Mitsubishi are still working on the Air Lubrication System. Because there exist problems that they are still not able to resolve. The system is just applicable to vessels having (Flat Bottom) shaped plain hull and can practically not be applied to ships with V – Shaped hulls. Air Lubrication System, affecting adversely the stability of the ships at high seas and hence endangered the safety of passengers, cargo and personnel. These issues are still being discussed. In addition, the system is believed to increase the cavitation occurring in ship’s propellers.

(You can have a look at our detailed information about the article on – Cavitation at Ship’s Propellers – the link below provides the access to the information.)


Despite the ongoing debates on Air Lubrication System, it has already attracted the attention of many shipping companies around the World. One of the examples is the world’s largest container shipping company that is Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line). Even the AIDA Cruises company which is an American – British partnered firm has already forwarded its order for two (2) ships of 125 000 ton, 3250 passenger capacity to be built by Mitsubishi. Vessels are scheduled to be delivered until 2016.


Translation By: Huseyin Sahin

Added By: Özge Günaydın

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