Celebrating 10 Years Becker Mewis Duct®
Within ten years, the Becker Mewis Duct® has become a globally successful product. Well over 1,200 units of the Becker Mewis Duct® have been sold to date, for both newbuildings and retrofits. Worldwide, emissions of CO2 have been lowered by more than seven million tons by employing the energy-saving duct.
Becker Marine Systems has written a success story with this product and demand continues to grow unabated. One reason for this are the stricter environmental regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). According to the IMO 2020 regulation, starting 1st January 2020 vessels may only operate on the high seas with fuel that has a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% instead of the previous 3.5%. For the shipping industry, this means considerable additional costs, which however can be reduced by lower energy consumption.
Potential savings of a Becker Mewis Duct®
By employing the Becker Mewis Duct®, consumption is lowered by an average of 6% for both empty and fully loaded ships, reductions are often higher for older ships. For this reason, many owners are taking advantage of the opportunity to upgrade their ships to the state of the art by retrofitting.
2009: Birth of a groundbreaking product
The summer of the year 2009 was the start of an unprecedented success story for Becker Marine Systems. When Mr Friedrich Mewis approached Mr Dirk Lehmann, managing director of Becker Marine Systems, with a new concept of an energy-saving duct, Mr Lehmann was quickly aware of the enormous potential of this product innovation and delighted to have found a soulmate in Mr Mewis.
With pencil and paper at their hands and tons of ideas for the design and features of the new product, both Mr Mewis and Mr Lehmann set out to introduce the energy-saving device in record-breaking time to the maritime market. The global oil price was ever rising (and passing 100 USD per barrel less than two years later). Ship owners worldwide were intensively looking for technical solutions to reduce the energy consumption of their vessels.
The experienced team of Becker Marine Systems then did an extraordinarily good job by finalising the product design. The first Becker Mewis Duct® was sold and under construction in less than one year after Mr Mewis approached Mr Lehmann with his groundbreaking idea.
Patent specification for a "device for the reduction of a vessel's energy requirements for propulsion"
The timing for the new product was indeed perfect and the cooperation of Mr Mewis and Becker Marine Systems soon turned out to be purposeful and efficient. Within a few weeks and the know-how in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) represented by ibmv Rostock, the new product was virtually tested. The very promising energy-saving results of the computer tests were then compared and confirmed with several model tests at different model test basins worldwide, finalising a noteworthy and short product development time of less than twelve months!
CFD illustrations of the Becker Mewis Duct®
With the homework done, it was time to approach the market. However, there was still the question of the product name. Very reluctantly and after lengthy discussions, Mr Mewis eventually agreed to the proposal of Mr Lehmann to christen the product Becker Mewis Duct®. A well-fitting name for a device that would soon become a substantial milestone for Becker and the shipping industry. And a logical name, considering the internal anecdote that MEWIS stands for "Most Efficient Wake Improvement System"
Dirk Lehmann (managing director at Becker) and inventor Friedrich Mewis, who lent his name to the Becker Mewis Duct®
An immediate market success
Its simple design with no moving parts, the potential energy savings and subsequent short-term return of investment would make the Becker Mewis Duct® an easy product to sell. Still, there would have to be the first and pioneering customer, taking the risk of investing in a new product. And Becker Marine Systems is grateful that the Norwegian Grieg Shipping Group and the German owners Ahrenkiel and Döhle stepped forward in 2009 to become those pioneering customers and partners.
The first Becker Mewis Duct® installations on Star Istind
Two existing Grieg vessels were retrofitted with an expected five percent reduction of energy consumption. The 185-meter long multi-purpose cargo vessel Star Istind will forever be known as the very first vessel to be equipped with a Becker Mewis Duct®. Still in service today and with actual energy savings of six percent, the Star Istind alone has reduced CO2 emissions by 12,589 tons within ten years since the installation of the Becker Mewis Duct®.
The Becker Mewis Duct® Twisted for fast vessels like container ships and ferries
The original product was designed for slow and large vessels like bulkers and tanker. Soon after the market launch, container ship owners approached Becker Marine Systems to inquire for a way to adapt the duct for fast vessels. But the drag of the original design would eat up all energy savings with vessels speeds above 20 knots.
So Mr Mewis and Mr Lehmann were back to pencil and paper and came up with the Becker Mewis Duct® Twisted. This new design featured a significantly smaller duct and large flow-optimising fins extending outside of the duct. The minimised drag of this setup ensured considerable energy savings and convinced ship owners around the world to install this product innovation on hundreds of fast and large container liners, ro/ro vessels and passenger ferries.
Both variants of the Becker Mewis Duct® added up to an outstanding sales success for Becker Marine Systems. Since that first installation in the summer of 2009, more than 1,200 vessels – both retrofits and newbuildings and ranging from 5,000 tdw bulk carriers to 22,000 TEU container vessels – have been equipped with Becker Mewis Ducts®. The energy savings achieved by the Becker Mewis Duct® enabled ship owners to reduce costs – and helped the environment by reducing CO2 emission by over 7,000,000 tons until today.