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Simcenter STAR-CCM+ in the development of the Becker Mewis pipeline generates energy savings

Becker Marine helps ship owners realize up to 6 percent annual fuel savings by using Simcenter STAR-CCM+.
Duto Becker Mewis
Becker Marine Systems

Becker Marine Systems is the market leader for high-performance rudders, maneuvering solutions and energy-saving devices for all types and sizes of vessels, including yachts, container ships and large cruise ships. With headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, the company employs over 200 specialists worldwide at offices located in Germany, China, Singapore, Korea, Norway and the United States.

Headquarters: Hamburg, Germany

Products: Simcenter Products, Simcenter STAR-CCM+

Industry Sector: Marine


✅ Develop energy-saving devices that satisfy efficiency demands

✅ Meet requirements for environmental regulations in maritime applications

✅ Adhere to strict time schedules for development

Keys to Success



From the moment we receive a new order, we typically have six weeks to find the required energy savings. This is a strict timescale, as the towing tank slot is reserved well in advance and cannot be moved.

Steve Leonard, Head of CFD and Research and Development

IBMV/Becker Marine

Energy saving devices in the marine industry

Energy efficiency is an important concern for ship builders and operators. The marine industry seeks to reduce vessel operating costs and meet CO₂ and NOₓ emission regulations. While modern, streamlined hull designs can help save fuel in new designs, most ships in service are older and lack these advantages. To meet this challenge, companies use custom Energy Saving Devices ( ESDs) on their aging vessels. These devices are positioned close to the propeller and can improve propulsion performance even on newer hull designs.

To understand the potential savings for a shipbuilder, a vessel that is listed at a dead weight tonnage (DWT) of 55,000 will use about 160 tons of fuel per day at normal cruising speed. Over the course of a year, a 5 percent improvement in fuel consumption would save over 2,000 tons of fuel and result in cost savings of approximately $500,000, so it’s easy to understand why marine companies are anxious to apply measures that will enhance energy efficiency.

duto Becker Mewis – Simulações com o Simcenter STAR-CCM+

The Becker Mewis Duct® for greater hydrodynamic efficiency

A widely used ESD is the Becker Mewis Duct®, designed for slower ships altogether. Distributed by Becker Marine Systems GmbH & Co. KG, this device offers fuel savings at a given speed or allows the vessel to travel faster with the same power. The Becker Mewis Duct consists of an ESD with integrated angled fins, which produce a forward thrust, straighten and accelerate the flow of water on the propeller. These fins reduce losses in propeller airflow, resulting in greater propulsive thrust. For best results, duct properties and fin design are optimized for each hull shape, harnessing energy from the hull's frictional boundary layer to improve the vessel's overall hydrodynamic efficiency.

The energy savings provided by the Becker Mewis Duct depends on the hull-to-block ratio and propeller thrust load. On average, fuel savings can vary from 3% for multipurpose vessels to up to 8% for oil tankers and bulk carriers. When combined with a Becker rudder, this savings can reach up to 8% for general ships. Furthermore, the use of an ESD such as the Becker Mewis Duct can reduce NOₓ and CO₂ emissions, regardless of the ship's draft and speed.

duto Becker Mewis – Simulações com o Simcenter STAR-CCM+

Using Simcenter STAR-CCM+ to design the Becker Mewis Duct

IBMV Maritime Innovationsgesellschaft mbH (IBMV), a subsidiary of Becker Marine, develops innovative technological solutions for the maritime market. The team led by Steve Leonard, head of CFD and R&D at IBMV, used Simcenter STAR-CCM+® software to design the Becker Mewis Duct.

Using Simcenter STAR-CCM+ allowed the team to discover better designs faster. The Becker Mewis Pipeline was introduced to the market in 2008 and the first full-scale installation took place in 2009. The estimated energy savings for this vessel was approximately 6%.

“The success of the Becker Mewis Duct is very dependent on the Simcenter STAR-CCM+ CFD process that we use to define the duct,” says Leonard. “Without accurate CFD simulations, we cannot fine-tune each duct to the flow conditions specific to a particular hull. For each scenario, we use STAR-CCM+ to carefully adjust over 40 design parameters to create a unique duct. Although there are similarities, the duct that we design for each vessel is absolutely unique. No two ducts are ever alike.”

The marine industry is known for its conservative approach, where self-propelled tests are used as a benchmark to assess vessel performance. Despite this, the IBMV team performs intensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations to design and fit each vessel's specific Becker Mewis Pipeline. These efforts are aimed at ensuring energy efficiency and minimizing fuel consumption during model testing.

Most CFD calculations are performed at model scale, but the IBMV team also perform final full-scale calculations to ensure design accuracy and cavitation performance. Although an automated optimization process seems adequate, it is not feasible for the Becker Mewis Pipeline due to the complexity of the flow around the pipeline, which cannot be reduced to simple numerical parameters. Therefore, a team of experts visually inspects the data generated by Simcenter STAR-CCM+ to identify adverse characteristics and suggest improvements for the next iterations of the project.

The experience accumulated over the previous studies allowed the IBMV team to define an initial project that serves as a basis for future improvements, seeking the ideal energy savings in about 10 design iterations. This approach results in well-engineered hulls, reducing energy waste and providing significant fuel savings opportunities through the Becker Mewis Pipeline. Leonard recalls one project in particular where the first iteration of the design achieved the required energy savings, a win for IBMV.

Produção do duto Becker Mewis


IBMV has delivered over 1,000 Becker Mewis Ducts, clearly demonstrating the value of engineering simulation, in particular CFD, in the marine design process. Using CFD can help companies make informed decisions while also providing a constant stream of data to help shipbuilders improve real-world vessel performance.

Without intensive design exploration driven by experienced engineers using Simcenter STAR-CCM+, it would be impossible for Becker Marine to deliver finely tuned energy saving devices that offer guaranteed performance while adhering to a strictly controlled schedule. By using Becker Mewis Ducts, customers have realized millions of dollars in fuel savings. The ESD has also played a significant role in reducing harmful CO2 and NOx emissions in the shipping industry as a whole. For example, when a Becker Mewis Duct was developed for the AS Valeria, a bulk carrier that weighs in at 57,000 DTW, the IBMV team used Simcenter STAR-CCM+ simulation capabilities to predict fuel savings of 5 percent, which was confirmed in sea trials; and they used further CFD capabilities to help achieve a reduction of 1,002 tons of CO₂ per year.

For each scenario, we use Simcenter STAR-CCM+ to carefully adjust over 40 design parameters to create a unique duct.

Steve Leonard, Head of CFD and Research and Development

IBMV/Becker Marine


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