Blowing bubbles to make ships more fuel efficient

Blowing a lot of bubbles under cargo ships turns out to be a good way to cut down on fuel costs, according to ongoing research on so-called air lubrication technology.

“The basic idea is that if you could somehow have air close to the hull, it would help the hull slip through the water better by reducing the skin friction,” Steven Ceccio, a professor of naval architecture and mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, explained to me Wednesday.