The strategic objective of SMOOTH is to cover all aspects of air-lubricated ships still requiring research and assessment to enable the technology transfer of air-lubrication into daily European shipbuilding and operation practice of both inland and coastal navigating ships. The first PELS project, a Dutch national project, demonstrated a positive overall energy win is achievable in all operational conditions of a ship when air lubrication is applied. Based on these findings, the SMOOTH consortium estimates that ship efficiency improvements up to 20% will be feasible. The consortium of SMOOTH consists of leading European research institutes and industrial partners from seven different European countries, each of them with unique skills, either as knowledge providers, top hydrodynamic labs and universities, end-users or air-system and maritime paint suppliers, to contribute to the successful implementation of air-lubricated ships. SMOOTH aims at a considerable reduction of fuel consumption, CO2 discharge with at the same time improved safety by applying new, vanguard technologies. The application of this promising technique will strengthen the position of European shipbuilders compared to their Asian competitors. Two important factors in ship safety are manoeuvring and stopping performance. As with air-lubricated ships frictional resistance of a ship can be influenced by switching on and off the air-lubrication, the stopping performance of ships can be improved noticeably. For example in cases when there is danger of collisions and groundings, sometimes leading to severe environmental pollutions. Besides the global dissemination of results, controlled dissemination of sensitive project results is enabled by the installation of a Supervisory Board, supporting the control of the running project by interested end-users and being exclusively legitimated to receive the results of the research.
The strategic objective of SMOOTH is to apply air-lubrication to ships and to provide new products in terms of required control- and paint systems to introduce air-lubricated ships, regardless whether it will be micro-bubble (MB), air-film or air-cavity ships (ACS), for inland and coastal navigating ships.