The Hamburg Ship Model Basin

Driving excellence for the maritime future

Video 100 years

Energy Efficiency

Improving the Energy Efficiency of ships has been the central task for model basins since their advent in the 19th century. Starting from single hull form optimisations to reduce the wave / pressure resistance of ships, work today has been broadened substantially and put into the context of global energy efficiency improvements. Important projects are:

  • TARGETS: Targeted Advanced Research for Global Efficiency of Transportation Shipping, an EU project accomplished under the 7th Framework Programme, TARGETS looked into modelling and improving relevant components to improve energy efficiency of ships and integrate them into a dynamic energy model. Web site:
  • GRIP: Green Retrofit through Improved Propulsion, an EU FP 7 project focussing on the development of advanced energy saving devices suitable also for retrofitting existing ships.
  • STREAMLINE: Strategic Research For Innovative Marine Propulsion Concepts, an EU FP 7 project looking into radically new propulsion concepts including various large area propulsors and improved multi-stage propulsors. Web site:
  • MARIDATA: Holistic technologies for the energy management of ships
  • ADAM4EVE: Adaptive and smart materials and structures for more efficient vessels, an EU FP 7 project investigating the use of smart and adaptive materials to an in situ adaptation of the hullform for improved efficiency. Web site:
  • FLIPPER: Flow Improvement through Compliant Hull Coating for Better Ship Performance, a MARTEC-ERA-Net project studying the possibilities of transition delay and reduction of skin friction through compliant coatings applied to the bow section of small ships


Hullform Optimisation

  • Form-Pro: Ship hullform optimisation with active propulsion based on an adjoint equation approach.
  • NO-Welle: Numerical Optimisation of ships with high wave resistance


Propeller and Propulsion

  • KonKav I: Correlation of Cavitation Effects under Consideration of the Water Quality
  • KonKav II: Understand and further to reduce the difference between model- and full scale wake and its effect onto the cavitation prognosis
  • PREFUL: Propeller Efficiency in Full Scale



Holistic technologies for the energy management of ships

Together with leading partners from the maritime industry, HSVA is launching a large-scale project to develop an energy management system for ships based on rational methods. Partners are Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt GmbH, AVL Deutschland GmbH, Entwicklungszentrum für Schiffstechnik und Transportsysteme e.V., Friendship Systems AG, Technische Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Hamburg, 52°North - Initiative for Geospatial Open Source Software GmbH, Universität zu Lübeck, Maritimes Zentrum der Hochschule Flensburg, C. Büttner Shipmanagement and AVL Software & Functions. Together with further associated ship operators , a forward-looking energy management and decision support system will be developed, taking into account current operational data and geo-information. This will contribute to improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions from shipping.

The energy consumption of merchant ships is largely determined by their hydrodynamic properties and the systems on board. In some cases, up to 90% of primary energy consumption is used for propulsion and must therefore be optimally managed. The aim of MariData is to develop, improve and classify rational modules for ship energy management by using a carefully selected combination of state-of-the-art maritime technologies and experience as well as AI-based tools and methods for a pioneering product for holistic ship energy and operations management.

Together with geo-information and a Decision Support System (DSS) that brings together technical, environmental and economic data, energy consumption information will be integrated into a platform that can be used both on board the ship and shore-side by a shipping company. The platform will provide on-line simulations for decision support to ship management, as well as assistance with short, medium and long-term forecasts and decisions related to ship operation.

MariData's innovations lie in the precise determination and analysis of the current ship's drag, propulsion and respective fuel consumption under realistic operating conditions, taking into account wind and wave influences. On this basis, a rational analysis of the influences of the individual components is carried out, thus improving the quality of the forecast and the basis for navigation decisions. Integration with state-of-the-art geoservices takes the planned system to a new level. In addition, there are flexible approaches to quickly generate missing data (e.g. geometry) and integrate it into the analysis.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

ADAM4EVE: Adaptive and smart materials and structures for more efficient vessels

Materials and structures are called adaptive if they can change certain properties in a predictable manner due to the forces acting on them (passive) or by means of built in actuators (active). Those materials and structures are referred to as smart if they provide best performance when operation circumstances change. The project ADAM4EVE focuses on the development and assessment of applications of such materials and structures in the shipbuilding industry.

The types of materials and structures are

  • adaptable ship hull structures for optimised hydrodynamic properties depending on varying cruise speed,
  • smart underwater coatings with antifouling properties in harbour and low resistance during voyage,
  • adaptive materials for noise and vibration damping of ship engines to avoid induction of vibrations into the ship hull and
  • adaptive outfitting materials that improve ships‟ serviceability and safety. Technical developments in the project are structured in three groups:
  • Materials and structures development: Based on available research results and known applications from other industries, adaptive and smart materials and structures will be adopted and further developed in order to make them applicable in the maritime industry.
  • Solution development: Driven by different shipyards, several application case studies will be performed, in order to achieve customised solutions for particular vessel types and their individual requirements; classification societies will assure that the solutions comply with existing rules and regulations.
  • Enabling and assessment of technologies: This group of activities provides support to the other ones on the field of testing, assessment of safety as well as economic and ecological impact, and advice for production, operation and dismantling. Due to the novelty of the solutions to be pursued, further development of the required validation methods and tools is intended, as well as suggestions for standardisation.

Project Web site:

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FLIPPER: Flow Improvement through Compliant Hull Coating for Better Ship Performance

Passive flow control through compliant coatings of ship bows

Project acronym: FLIPPER

Project duration: 01-06-2014 – 30-11-2016

Programme: MARTEC ERA-Net / Next-Generation Maritime Technologies

Programme owner: European Commission / Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

Participating organisations: Fraunhofer-IFAM / ARKEMA France / TU Hamburg-Harburg

Project description:

The energy consumption of a moving ship is proportional to the resistance exerted by the water on the hull. Skin friction makes up a considerable part of the hull resistance, becoming even more dominant at low speed (“slow steaming”). The local friction force is not constant over the hull surface but is concentrated in the bow region (Fig. 1), where the thin boundary layer transitions from a low-energy laminar state to a highly dissipative turbulent state. This process is accompanied by a dramatic increase in local friction. The research project FLIPPER seeks to develop a passive control mechanism based on a compliant coating of the bow in order to shift the laminar-turbulent transition point astern. The compliant-coating approach is inspired by dolphins, believed to maintain the laminar flow state over a considerable length of their bodies thanks to their flexible skin.

Local shear-stress distribution

Fig. 1: Local shear-stress distribution along the hull of a small vessel

In FLIPPER, HSVA will consider a boundary-layer model for the flow field at the bow of a small vessel. The turbulence triggers of this flow will be computed by linear stability analysis and characterised in terms of their frequencies and wavelengths. HSVA’s research partners will then develop a suitable compliant material – capable of damping these frequencies, thereby stabilising the boundary layer and delaying the transition process.

FLIPPER is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany (BMWi) within a MARTEC ERA-Net agreement. The project is carried out in collaboration with Fraunhofer-IFAM, ARKEMA France and Hamburg University of Technology.

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Form-Pro: Adjungierte Formoptimierung von Schiffen bei aktiver Propulsion

Ship hullform optimisation with active propulsion based on an adjoint equation approach

Project acronym: FormPro

Programme: Shipping & Maritime Technology for the 21st century

Programme owner: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi)

Participating organisations: Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg / FRIENDSHIP SYSTEMS

Project description:

FormPro created an integrated hullform optimisation approach and environment for ships with active propulsion. Combining advanced methods for parametric form descriptions, mathematical optimisation techniques and hydrodynamic analysis based on cutting edge RANS simulations and sensitivity analysis using adjoint equations, the project helped to significantly increase ship powering performance and contributed to the overall objective of increased energy efficiency of maritime transportation. .

In a final validation exercise FORM- demonstrated the superiority of the applied optimisation approach by creating an unusual, but effective, ship design. In this project, the propeller performance, PD, was the focus of the optimisation exercise. The resulting geometry from this optimisation was an asymmetric aft body. The subsequent model tests confirmed the improvements.

Baseline Symmetric


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No-Welle: Numerische Optimierung von Schiffen mit hohem Wellenwiderstand

Numerical Optimisation of ships with high wave resistance

Project acronym: No-Welle

Project duration: 01-07-2013 – 30-06-2016

Programme: Shipping & Maritime Technology for the 21st century

Programme owner: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi)

Participating organisations: TU Hamburg-Harburg / FRIENDSHIP SYSTEMS / Voith GmbH

Project description:

The performance of ships strongly relies on the shape of the hull and its appendages. The hull shape in turn is determined by hydrodynamic considerations (e.g. minimum resistance) along with operational demands (e.g. maximum displacement). Hence, the ship designer is faced with a constrained optimisation problem. The research project No-Welle deals with the development of a powerful toolbox in order to tackle such optimisation problems. This toolbox combines an adjoint optimisation method with different CAD-based and CAD-free shape deformation techniques (Fig. 1). The viscous solvers FreSCo+ and adFreSCo+ based on the RANS equations and their adjoint counterpart are at the heart of the optimisation procedure. The flow solution and its adjoint are used to compute the shape sensitivity of the ship hull (Fig. 2), a measure of the necessary hull deformations in order to meet the design target. The strength of the adjoint methodology lies in the independence of the computational effort from the number of hull design variables. Thus, complex hull deformations with many degrees of freedom can be considered at a moderate cost.

Adjoint shape optimisation toolbox

Fig. 1: Adjoint shape optimisation toolbox

Sensitifity of the hull shape w.r.t

Fig. 2:
Sensitifity of the hull shape w.r.t the design
target "minimisation of orbital wave motion"

In No-Welle, the emphasis is put on the influence of the free water surface on the shape sensitivity. To this end, adFreSCo+ is currently being augmented with an adjoint VOF treatment for the computation of the adjoint wave field around the ship. This development is necessary in order to design ship hulls with minimum wave resistance, taking into account the vessel’s dynamic trim and sinkage. Moreover, the augmented optimisation tool can be used to calculate the optimal trim of ships at different operational conditions (speed and draught).

No-Welle is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany (BMWi). The project is carried out in collaboration with Hamburg University of Technology, FRIENDSHIP SYSTEMS GmbH and Voith Turbo Schneider Propulsion GmbH.

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KonKav I

The main objectives of the joint research project KonKav I are

  • to develop and use in situ measurement methods for the assessment of water quality and cavitation
  • to select, develop and validate a numerical cavitation model for the simulation of the influence of water quality on cavitation
  • to develop a method for correlating cavitation tunnel data with full scale performance, including water quality effects

Project partners are

  • Potsdam Model Basin (SVA)
  • Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)
  • University of Rostock (Uni HRO)
  • Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt GmbH (HSVA)

HSVA is the coordinator of KonKav I and will host many of the experiments. The project started in November 2009 and is scheduled to end in October 2012. If successful, it will soon be accompanied by KonKav II and III, addressing other aspects effecting the reliability of cavitation tests at model scale. KonKav is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

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KonKav II

Partners within this joint research project are:

  • Universität Rostock
  • Technische Universität Hamburg Harburg (TUHH)
  • Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (FSG)
  • Schiffbau Versuchsanstalt Potsdam (SVA)
  • Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt GmbH (HSVA)

The aim of the joint research project KonKav II is to understand and further to reduce the difference between model- and full scale wake and its effect onto the cavitation prognosis. HSVA’s part of the research program deals mainly with the wake effect due to the special model test procedure applied in HYKAT. Using whole ship models which create their own wake fields lead to specific differences compared to the full scale wake fields. On the other side they provide specific potential to consider and to overcome these differences.

After finalizing the research project we will have developed the know-how of creating the wake within the HYKAT more similar to full scale and therefore to further increase the reli-ability of corresponding cavitation prognosis.

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PREFUL – Propeller Efficiency in Full Scale

Project summary:
R&D in the maritime sector will usually find founding on a national basis or in the EU-framework. For project-proposals that concentrate on the real-time industrial application of research activities the MARTEC-network provides alternative resources. HSVA / MMG on the German side and CTO / SCANA on the Polish side suggested a MARTEC-project addressing the propeller performance scaling problem. The relevance of an appropriate scaling procedure is evident from the fact that usually model scale tests serve to decide on propulsion concepts and to select between alternative propeller designs. The evaluation of propeller open water tests plays a key-role, since it includes the estimation of the full scale propeller efficiency.

The PREFUL project assesses the full scale propeller efficiency combining...

  • high Reynolds-number propeller open water tests performed in two high speed cavitation tunnels
  • RANS calculations
  • full scale trial analysis
  • fast extrapolation methods

The essence of the accumulated results will be used to update the standard propeller scaling procedures. To disclose the results for the benefit of the European shipbuilding community a workshop will be held at the end of the project.

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