Capital News Service
LANSING — An idea is bubbling in the Great Lakes shipping industry, one that could increase fuel efficiency by 5 percent to 20 percent. Naval engineers say that injecting air under the bottom of a ship reduces friction, helping it travel faster on less fuel. “This has been a dream of naval architecture for a long time,” said Steven Ceccio, chair of naval architecture and marine engineering at the University of Michigan. “If you think about places in the United States where the benefit of fuel savings and reduced emissions would be helpful, it’s the Great Lakes,” Ceccio said. Great Lakes ships generally have large, flat bottoms – an ideal shape for the technology because air stays underneath the ship instead of bubbling to the surface.