School of Engineering



STrategic REsearch for innovAtive Marine propuLsIoN concEpts (STREAMLINE)

Increasing environmental concerns and soaring oil prices are creating a new focus on fuel efficiency for the marine industry. Combining low emissions with demands for more advanced vessels than ever before, drives the needs for radically new propulsion concepts delivering a step-change in efficiency. STREAMLINE is the response of the marine community to this demand.

Radical New Propulsion Concepts

The first major objective of STREAMLINE is to demonstrate radically new propulsion concepts delivering a step-change improvement in efficiency of at least 15% over the current state-of-the-art. The concepts will be designed for maximisation of energy conversion combined with low levels of propeller cavitation, noise and vibration. This breakthrough in efficiency will be achieved by Designing and model testing innovative propulsion concepts with optimum hull design. Specifically:

Novel applications of large area propulsion; A biomechanical system; and Distributed thrust (via multiple propulsors)

Exploiting latest advances in modelling, analysis and validation tools for optimised hydrodynamic performance of these novel concepts. Applying novel technologies such as non-metallic propulsion materials and modular designs via mechanical and electric drive systems.

STREAMLINE is designed to be complementary to EU funded programmes that address the contribution of prime mover improvements to overall vessel energy efficiency and emissions reduction e.g. HERCULES Beta and VIRTUE.

Optimisation of State-of-the-Art Propulsion

In addition to considering new and more efficient propulsion concepts there remain many opportunities to optimise existing propulsion technologies and it is widely believed that reductions in fuel consumption and noxious emissions can be obtained.

Therefore, the second major objective of STREAMLINE is to investigate different methods to fully optimise current state-of-the-art (SoA) systems including conventional screw propeller systems, pods and waterjets.

For conventional screw propellers the study will include optimisation of special components such as ducted propellers, as well as inflow improving devices such as pre-swirl stators, using advanced CFD tools. This work has the potential to play an invaluable role as a means to reduce emissions on the existing marine fleet, without dramatic configuration changes.

For pods STREAMLINE will focus on the benefits of using pods in contra-rotating concepts, both improving the CRP concept (pod behind a main propeller) and the integrated contra-rotating pod (ICP). Using the new tools developed in the project STREAMLINE will also examine the possibility of using pod units in new locations on the hull, where previously the high risks of ventilation could not be properly assessed and avoided.

For waterjets the aim is to deliver higher propulsive efficiency over a wider range of operational conditions, by the design of a system with variable inlet/outlet geometries using existing and new actuation technology.

Finally, to complete this optimisation objective and ensure that all possible means to improve total vessel efficiency have been exploited, STREAMLINE will carry out a systematic study to evaluate different propulsion configurations. This systematic study will combine aspects of the advanced screw propeller systems and the pods work-packages, demonstrating the best aftbody configuration for maximising vessel efficiency. This will also provide an optimum benchmark vessel that will be used to evaluate the like-for-like benefits of the radically new large area propulsion concepts.

Advanced New CFD Tools & Methods

To achieve its first two objectives, STREAMLINE will need to have access to new tools and methods for modelling performance aspects of propulsion technologies. Consequently, the third major objective for STREAMLINE is to continue to develop advanced CFD tools and methods to optimise the hydrodynamic performance of the new ship propulsion systems, particularly by analysis of the integrated hull and propulsor. The tools developed through the duration of STREAMLINE will be applied to the radically new concepts as well as to the improved SoA propulsion and validated through physical model testing. These tools will provide a significant advance beyond the current SoA capability in Europe.

Operational Aspects

Finally, the fourth major objective of STREAMLINE is to characterise the operational aspects of each of the radically new propulsion concepts. This will include analysis of the operational performance, reliability, safety and economic factors and will be carried out by a specialised team selected from major ship operators, classification societies and research institutes, to ensure strong end user focus during the development work. The project will be concluded with a benchmarking of each concept against existing SoA

Newcastle University’s specific tasks: In the STREAMLINE Project UNEW’s task involves the further development of their Inclined Keel Hull concept in the field of radical new propulsion system (by Large Area Propulsors) and verification of this concept by conducting large scale model tests.