With a new CEO and a commitment to helping the industry improve sustainability, Ulmatec Pyro As is building on decades of experience to bring revolutionary water heating technology to the wider maritime sector. CEO Bernt-Aage Ulstein tells us about his vision for the company and its strategy for the industry.

Never before has sustainability and the reduction of carbon emissions been such a high priority for the cruise industry. Despite the many challenges that the pandemic has brought, environmental issues are once again at the top of the agenda as business finally starts to recover. That recovery gives cruise lines an opportunity to re-evaluate vessel design, new technologies and operational procedures, with a view to cutting emissions. In their search for sustainable, energy-saving systems, operators must look at every facet of ship design and Ulmatec Pyro, a leading supplier of hot water heating systems, is committed to helping them optimise their equipment.

“We are constantly looking for ways to help our customers reduce emissions, and we offer holistic vessel energy design based around waste heat,” says Bernt-Aage Ulstein, who recently took over as CEO of Ulmatec Pyro, having previously been design manager of Ulstein Design and Solutions.

“My experience at Ulstein, in terms of design, specification and building of complex vessels has provided me with insights into customer needs, both from shipowners’ and shipyards’ perspective.”

Ulstein’s goal in his new role is to steadily grow the company and expand its business presence internationally – working closely with customers to understand their pathway for decarbonisation and to support them with technological innovations.

Smart solutions

“Ulmatec Pyro has been in business since 1951, so we have a core knowledge of heating and cooling systems in diverse applications,” he remarks. “The cruise industry needs new and green solutions, and possibly new ways of looking at things. We can bring in new and fresh perspectives.” “For example, we see that more and more customers find the benefits of hot water systems more attractive over the more traditional steam-based systems, and I think that new technologies like heatto-power conversion and thermal storage will become more significant parts of the integrated heat management system.

” Ulstein’s vision comes from an understanding that decarbonisation will drive customer needs and regulations at a rapid pace, and that shipowners need to take a holistic view of their fleets and newbuild plans, with a long-term perspective on the development of emissions regulations.

“That picture will certainly involve both alternative fuels and hybrid electrical systems, but those will not come for free,” he explains. Due to the high cost of new fuels and technology, energy efficiency will become more important, which will drive a need for on board automation and datadriven process optimisation. This is where our integrated waste energy management system fits in nicely.”

The system takes the anticipated demands for cooling and heating for different operational profiles as the key process parameter to secure energy balance. After all, there is no need to recover energy if there is no demand. “It is a closed loop system that has not only automated the process of distributing heat to the individual on board consumers, but also integrates recovery sources and hot water generation,” Ulstein remarks. “The intelligence in the system ensures that when heat is demanded, it is primarily met from recovered sources. The fuel-fired hot water heater is included just as a booster.”

 “We often see that a vessel’s heating needs are well-served only through recovered energy,” he adds. “The key benefits for the operator are control, monitoring and the automation of manual tasks. This all contributes to a more efficient and precise utilisation of heat energy.

” Ulmatec Pyro’s systems are being installed on the Kystruten vessels for Havila Shipping, which will feature two sub-systems to handle low temperature cooling of critical equipment and high temperature heating for hotel accommodation.

Interacting and feeding energy to each other, they will boost efficiency and maximise the use of recovered energy. Soon to feature on the National Geographic Explorer and Endurance being built by Lindblad Expeditions, Ulmatec Pyro’s solutions are gaining traction in the cruise sector and, with the vision of a new CEO, the company is ready for a greener future.