Driving sustainability via pipeline system excellence

article picture: Driving sustainability via pipeline system excellence

Director of Development Thomas Hägglund and Sales & Sustainability Director Samuli Kuusisto from Uwira.

Methanol is one of the new and exciting fuels used in the marine industry – with TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 7 and RCCL Celebrity’s Edge Series newbuild being among the first methanol fuel capable cruise ships. Currently under construction at shipyards, the environmentallyfriendly cruise ships will be delivered in 2024–2025.

Uwira, an innovative Finnish pipeline manufacturer, is charged with delivering the demanding methanol pipeline solutions to ships under construction. Sales & Sustainability Director Samuli Kuusisto says that Uwira has decades of experience in producing advanced pipeline solutions.

“Now, we are excited to contribute to key methanol projects.”

Uwira’s modular solutions use double- walled pipes that guarantee safe transfer of hazardous fuels, in this case, methanol.

“While the solution features double- walled pipes, it’s not the same solution that carries LNG. With LNG, you don’t need high pressure in the pipes.”

Uwira Oy


The methanol solution, however, requires high pressure to work – which, in turn, requires exacting standards for the onboard pipes that typically run for 30–50 meters to each engine.

“We have developed our pipeline solution to deal with high pressure and pressure fluctuations that come with the technology. When we visit projects abroad, we want to point out the importance of the high-pressure fluctuation issues.” Kuusisto says, adding that the Finnish company is really a forerunner in this regard:

Uwira’s double-walled pipes can withstand pressures of up to 1,800 bar. The company’s double-walled pipes are made of materials such as steel, stainless steel, Duplex, and Super-Duplex Stainless Steel.

Uwira can handle pipeline prefabrication as well as installation for methanol projects. “We have a dedicated team for installations alone,” says Kuusisto.

Uwira Oy


This expertise, however, did not develop overnight. As early as 2015, Uwira was already involved in delivering modular solutions made of double-walled pipes to M/S Stena Germanica, which uses methanol as fuel. Kuusisto remembers that the vessel – built in Poland – only came to existence after a lot of groundbreaking planning.

“We were required to deliver a real innovative pipeline solution to support Wärtsilä’s engines and succeeded, thanks to great collaboration from all parties,” Kuusisto says, adding that classification society Lloyd’s was also involved in the project.

During the years that followed, the methanol technology onboard Stena Germanica proved reliable again and again - but it has taken a long time for the technology to catch on.

Presently, however, the French Chantiers de l’Atlantique (CdA) shipyard is building Celebrity Cruises’ new ship, the fifth vessel in the company’s Edge Series, to feature methanol-readiness. Celebrity Cruises is one of the brands of Royal Caribbean.

Fitted with Wärtsilä’s methanol-ready engines, the new ship is scheduled for delivery from the yard in 2025.

Kuusisto is happy to see the technology spread in Europe.

“We firmly believe that methanol is the next big thing in maritime, even if there are availability issues right now.”

Uwira Oy


Going forward, Uwira wants to continue to play a vital role in the green transition by supplying pipeline solutions, modules, and pressure vessels for new, more environmentally friendly fuels. Thomas Hägglund, Uwira Director of Development, says that finding sustainable solutions is a major issue for the entire industry.

“We are enabling this transition and making way for a more sustainable future,” says Hägglund.

Methanol is only one part of Uwira’s sustainable arsenal: ammonia and hydrogen are also in play. In fact, Uwira is involved in a marine hydrogen fuel cell system project, which enables vessels to sustain zero-emission operations for longer periods of time than would be possible using battery power alone.

Uwira Oy


The hydrogen fuel cell system is ideal for zero-emission operations onboard ships that go on routes where hydrogen supply is available.

“Here, we are supplying doublewalled hydrogen pipelines,” confirms Hägglund.

Hydrogen is a great fit for a company that has delivered demanding pipeline solutions over the years.

“With this specialization, we have achieved the desired level of quality in our products. In use, our products last for decades,” says Hägglund.

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