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Energy efficiency in the German pulp and paper industry - a model-based assessment of saving potentials

: Fleiter, Tobias; Fehrenbach, Daniel; Worrell, Ernst; Eichhammer, Wolfgang


Energy 40 (2012), Nr.1, S.84-99
ISSN: 0360-5442
Fraunhofer ISI ()
energy efficiency; pulp and paper; bottom-up; energy saving potential; energy-efficient technology; conservation supply curve

Paper production is an energy-intensive process and accounted for about 9% of industrial energy demand in Germany in 2008. There have only been slow improvements in energy efficiency in the paper industry over the past twenty years. Policies can accelerate the progress made, but knowledge about the remaining efficiency potentials and their costs is a prerequisite for their success. We assess 17 process technologies to improve energy efficiency in the German pulp and paper industry up to 2035 using a techno-economic approach. These result in a saving potential of 34 TJ/a for fuels and 12 TJ/a for electricity, which equal 21% and 16% of fuel and electricity demand, respectively. The energy savings can be translated into mitigated CO2 emissions of 3 Mt. The larger part of this potential is found to be cost-effective from a firm's perspective. The most influential technologies are heat recovery in paper mills and the use of innovative paper drying technologies. In conclusion, significant saving potentials are still available, but are limited if we assume that current paper production processes will not change radically. Further savings would be available if the system boundaries of this study were extended to e.g. include cross-cutting technologies.