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Carnival Cruises inks deal to deploy 'microbubble carpet' technology

Hull of a ship using the Silverstream technology

Silverstream Technologies' innovative system pumps tiny bubbles through vents on a boat's hull to reduce friction between the vessel and the water.

Silverstream Technologies

A clean technology firm that has developed a system that spreads a carpet of microbubbles between a ship's hull and the water to reduce drag and enhance fuel efficiency has landed a $1.23 million deal with Carnival Cruises.

Silverstream Technologies' innovative system, which pumps tiny bubbles through vents on a boat's hull to reduce friction between the vessel and the water, reduces fuel consumption by between 5 to 12 percent, according to the Department of International Trade (DoIT).

Minister for Exports Graham Stuart recently touted the technology as the "perfect example" of how maritime businesses can leverage new technology to slash their carbon footprint.

The deal with the U.S. cruise giant is the latest in a string of contracts secured by Silverstream Technologies, following agreements with Grimaldi Group, oil giant Shell's shipping division and Lloyd's Register.

We want to become a standard on new build vessels in the industry and to be the ‘new normal' for sustainable shipping.

The DoIT, trade advisor for the London-based cleantech firm, said that it expected the company's overall turnover to double by the end of the year, due to the pipeline of deals in Europe and Asia.

Noah Silberschmidt, Silverstream Technologies founder and chief executive, wants the microbubble technology to establish a greener global shipping standard.

"Shipping is one of the hard to decarbonize global industries, so we have spent the last few years independently testing our system to support our claims," he said. "We want to become a standard on new build vessels in the industry and to be the ‘new normal' for sustainable shipping."

The carbon-intensive maritime sector, which facilitates 95 percent of all of the U.K. trade, has a long way to go before it reaches its net-zero emissions target by mid-century.

But Stuart said that companies such as Silverstream would contribute to the country's reaching its zero-carbon goal. "The U.K. is a global leader in green transport solutions and the perfect place for companies like Silverstream to go global and contribute to our net-zero 2050 ambition," he said. 

Harry Thechari, chair of Maritime UK, echoed the minister's sentiment. "Silverstream Technologies shows that innovative solutions are being found to help the maritime sector reach its net-zero carbon emissions challenge — and then be exported around the world. With 90 percent of all global trade moving by ship, the market opportunity is vast," he said. "By developing cutting-edge green technologies, our businesses are delivering sustainable solutions and real economic and societal benefits."

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