Bray Yacht Design And Research Ltd is conducting an extensive research and development programme into fuel saving hull technology, partially funded by the Canadian National Research Council.

Bray Yacht Design are known for their advanced hull work with fuel saving hull appendages. Their current technology produces a maximum benefit of 30 per cent in fuel savings or equivalent reduction in engine horsepower (kw) for a new build.

This new round of research will look at improving upon the current work as well as exploring some new avenues that show promise. The work is being done using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) on a 45m hull model previously tank tested.

Patrick Bray believes that this evolving hull technology is particularly relevant to the superyacht industry for several reasons. “It is important for these vessels to not only look stylish but also be the very height of technology,” he says.

“The primary advantages include increased range from 12 to 15 per cent and reduced fuel consumption up to 20 per cent depending on the vessel speed. This means a reduction in greenhouse gases and lowering of the carbon footprint.”

Bray adds that a new build can fit an engine with 20 per cent less horsepower and have fuel tanks that are 12 to 15 per cent smaller while still reaching the contract speed and range.

The total scope of this research will not only encompass refinements in the bow bulb, which is becoming more commonplace in the industry, but also benefits of the stern bulb.

“The stern bulb was first developed in Japan in 1981 with some success,” Bray explains. “Unfortunately at the time no one cared about the cost of fuel and no one was interested in reducing greenhouse gases or their carbon footprint.”

The research will also look at any advantages to be gained with a mid-ship bulb. The team believes that in total as much as 40 per cent reduction in powering may be possible. The Bray team will keep updated as research progresses.

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