Happy World Oceans Day

By Jenn Schlegel

How super yachts and better-designed moon pools might just help save our oceans…

Happy World Oceans Day! To celebrate, I thought I would share a little marine industry story about two engineers who used some of our software to help design better performing moon pools. I know the first question that pops to mind is: What the heck is a moon pool? Well, honestly, it is a hole or opening in the hull of a ship to access the water underneath. Moon pools are typically found in drilling vessels and scientific exploration ships.

So the question at hand is how to design a good hole in a boat? This is certainly not the first thing that springs to mind when you talk about naval architecture and marine engineering. But then you aren’t designing 100-meter drill ships or constructing the world’s largest super yacht, REV Ocean. (REV Ocean is being built to help scientists study our oceans and find solutions to overfishing, climate change and plastic pollution. Sure, it is a super yacht, but one with a sustainable heart. I thought we were on theme for Worlds Oceans Day with REV Ocean.)

How to design a good moon pool?

In the case of REV Ocean, the moon pool lets researchers lower scientific equipment and even a submarine directly into the ocean. Being a hole in a boat, a moon pool can obviously cause some performance issues as well. Engineering a moon pool optimally requires some pretty nifty simulation – more specifically advanced CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and overall design optimization work.

A moon pool image courtesy of REV Ocean
A moon pool image courtesy of REV Ocean

Enter the CFD experts

You just don’t chop a hole in your vessel any old place. Optimizing a moon pool design means finding the right balance between hundreds of possibilities including customer specifications, cost options and various performance factors. And since moon pools are usually one-of-a-kind, these can differ greatly from vessel to vessel. Moon pools can typically cause issues, like unwanted water flows, increased resistance, increased fuel consumption and additional turbulence. To engineer a moon pool properly you have to cover a lot of angles, so experts tend to use CFD tools like Simcenter STAR-CCM+ and optimization tools like Simcenter HEEDS to get to the right result. 

This year United Nations World Oceans Day highlights the theme: The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.

Our World Oceans Day story

Back to our little World Oceans Day story. One engineer in this story had already worked on optimizing a specific moon pool design for a drilling vessel using Simcenter STAR-CCM+. After completing five simulation studies, he managed to take the resistance level of the moon pool on the vessel’s hull down from 11.5% originally to 9.10%. But looking at the big design picture, one of his colleagues realized that with the right tool they could do more. He was thinking about Simcenter HEEDS.

Best-in-balancing: Simcenter HEEDS

For those of you who don’t know Simcenter HEEDS, it is a design space exploration software package. Simcenter HEEDS can interface with all types of CAD and commercial CAE packages as well as in-house and customized tools. Basically, it takes a big picture overview of the engineering work and various software packages and tools involved and optimizes the overall design and engineering process. In other words, it can up an engineering game from very good to great – no matter what tools or solutions are used.

From very good engineering to great engineering

Knowing that there was room for improvement, the two engineers used Simcenter HEEDS to investigate further. Running a design exploration loop in Simcenter HEEDS revealed better design options, trimming the overall resistance down to a neat 7.92%. That’s an over 3.5% reduction.

An illustration of REV Ocean in action.

Decreases like this in resistance can mean a lot for huge vessels or super yachts for that matter. It translates into an immense fuel savings and overall annual cost reduction. Not to mention the environment impact of not burning all that fossil fuel.

Who would have thought that two engineers, a little Simcenter STAR-CCM+ and some Simcenter HEEDS optimization could have potential planet-saving power like that? Now that is something to celebrate!

Happy World Oceans Day!

About United Nations World Oceans Day

The United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day every year on June 8th. This year, the second virtual celebration of United Nations World Oceans Day highlights the theme, The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods. This year’s event will shed light on the wonder of the ocean and how it is our life source, supporting humanity and every other organism on Earth. The live event features over 40 thought leaders, celebrities, institutional partners, community voices, entrepreneurs, and cross-industry experts. Join the live event today (10:00 am – 5:00 pm EST).

About REV Ocean

REV Ocean is a not-for-profit company created with one overarching purpose and ambition: to make the ocean healthy again. The REV Ocean research expedition vessel is currently under construction at the VARD shipyard in Langsten, Norway. More about Rev Ocean at

Images courtesy of REV Ocean and UN World Oceans Day.

Please note that the REV Ocean Moon pool and rendered images are used for illustration purposes only.

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at