Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Saving Opportunities for the Pulp and Paper Industry

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The U.S. pulp and paper industry—defined in this Energy Guide as facilities engaged in the manufacture of pulp, paper, and paperboard—consumes over $7 billion (48 billion yuan or RMB) worth of purchased fuels and electricity per year. Energy efficiency improvement is an important way to reduce these costs and to increase predictable earnings, especially in times of high energy price volatility. There are a variety of opportunities available at individual plants in the U.S. pulp and paper industry to reduce energy consumption in a cost-effective manner. This Energy Guide discusses energy efficiency practices and energy-efficient technologies that can be implemented at the component, process, facility, and organizational levels. This Energy Guide begins with an overview of the trends, structure, and energy consumption characteristics of the U.S. pulp and paper industry, along with descriptions of the major process technologies used within the industry. Next, a wide variety of energy efficiency measures applicable to pulp and paper mills are described. Many measure descriptions include expected savings in energy and energy-related costs, which are based on case study data from real-world applications in pulp and paper mills and related industries worldwide. Typical measure payback periods and references to further information in the technical literature are also provided, when available. Given the importance of water use in pulp and paper mills, a summary of basic measures for improving plant-level water efficiency is also provided. The information in this Energy Guide is intended to help energy and plant managers in the U.S. pulp and paper industry reduce energy and water consumption in a cost-effective manner while maintaining the quality of products manufactured. Further research on the economics of all measures—as well as on their applicability to different production practices—is needed to assess their cost effectiveness at individual plants.

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