Driving waterborne transportation The improvement of existing tools and the development of new ones stand to boost Europe’s maritime industry. One EU-funded project made great strides in this area, promising substantial future benefits for ship performance as well as the environment. Climate Change and Environment © Thinkstock The Integrated Project (IP) 'The Virtual Tank Utility in Europe' (Virtue) was an EU-wide initiative driven by leading marine computational fluid dynamics (CFD) centres. The goal was to create a virtual basin by enhancing and integrating CFD tools for optimising the hydrodynamic performance of ships at sea. At the same time, team members aimed to facilitate the development of innovative design techniques and concepts, and complement model testing in real basins. Results in the latter area would provide the means for improving on the current provision of services to the marine industry. Virtue’s vision was to have a coherent and all-embracing hydrodynamic analysis system help boost the competitiveness of Europe’s shipbuilding and shipping industries. This promises to also strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises through their involvement in developments, as well as enhance waterborne transportation quality and safety. Project work and activities pointed to the reliable application of a wide range of CFD tools for numerous hydrodynamic analysis tasks for practical problems and considerations in the maritime industry. The outcomes are significant given an ever-expanding need for better fuel savings and reductions in ship emissions. Along with Virtue’s 'Best practice guideline' document covering areas such as seakeeping, resistance, propulsion and manoeuvring, the project’s improved CFD tools offer significant opportunities for analysing and optimising new ship designs from a hydrodynamic perspective. The results of this IP stand to contribute significantly to solving many problems faced by today’s maritime industry.