OSAKA -- A container ship with a hemispherical-shaped bow, which can significantly reduce wind drag, is under construction at Japanese shipbuilder Kyokuyo Shipyard, at its facility about 7km northeast of the Kanmon Straits in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
The ship's distinctive design, which was patented in Japan, the U.S., South Korea, China and seven European countries, helps improve fuel efficiency.
Kyokuyo Shipyard's first such ship, which was delivered in 2010, was a car carrier that can transport 2,000 automobiles at a time. The vessel originally featured a traditional angular bow, but the company overhauled the design to address rising fuel costs and cut carbon dioxide emissions. The semispherical bow has less resistance to wind and greater strength. Anchors are stored belowdecks.
Wind-tunnel tests have shown that the futuristic "SSS bow," or Semi-Spherical Shaped bow configuration, reduces wind resistance by up to 50%. The operation in the North Atlantic route revealed that the new bow can reduce fuel consumption by 807 tons a year and energy by 11%, cutting CO2 emissions by 2,500 tons.
The feature can be applied to car carriers, container vessels, general cargo ships and passenger vessels. It is particularly effective for taller vessels, which are more affected by strong winds.
President Katsuhiko Ochi continues to inspire employees to make new designs and hull forms that cannot be copied by other companies.