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Hull Shape Design Optimization

The case is about a hull optimization of a large passenger ferry.

The objective is to reduce the required power at 2 different cruise speeds and loading conditions but also to explore the parameters influence to better understand their impact on the objectives.


By optimizing the hull, the ferry saved USD 337,000 per year operating two engines (1 boat).

Benoit Mallol, Head of Marine, NUMECA International




  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has established that all news ships, in 2025, will be 30% more efficient than those built in 2014.
  • CFD can provide accurate understanding of ship performances, and the rise of High Performance Computing (HPC) makes the cost of high fidelity simulation cheaper.
  • Vessels with varied operational profiles require trade-off analyses that make an engineer work more difficult, due to contradicting objectives.
  • Understand which changes in hull form can affect the overall performances and operational expenses.



The design optimization was performed using a Rhinoceros/Grashopper parametric model, that is directly coupled into FINE™/Design3D.


Single engine Baseline Optimized Gain
Power [kW] 1.299 1.116 14,08%
Fuel [L/hr] 416 359 13,53%





There is a power reduction of 14,08% and a decrease of 13,53% of the fuel consumption which leads to a saving of 337,000$ per year for two engines (1 boat).

A fully automated design optimization of a ferry is performed to find the global optimum of the weighted power, hence allowing the trade-off studies much easier.

The propeller influence is taken into account by means of an enriched actuator disk model to directly perform self-propulsion simulations.

The data mining leads to decrease the CPU time for the database by validating the accuracy of the surrogate.