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Energy Myth  


Energy is required for all industrial production. The paper industry is no exception, with energy used to drive machinery and to generate heat to dry the paper once it’s made.

Energy costs usually make up around a third of the cost of making paper and so it makes sense both on economic and environmental grounds to

reduce its use in paper mills.

Over half the energy used to make paper in Europe comes from renewable, low-carbon energy8. Between 1990 and 2010 the UK Papermaking Industry reduced total energy use by 34% per tonne of paper made.  Thanks to investment in lower carbon energy, annual emissions of fossil carbon have been reduced by 1.6m tonnes or 42%.

These efficiencies come, in part, from common sense measures as taken in all households - like using more energy efficient appliances, turning off lights and being careful not to waste energy. However, to achieve much bigger savings mills have also made large investments to fundamentally change the way they operate.

To achieve even greater energy savings and further reduce carbon emissions, larger and more complex mills have often taken control over their energy by building their own power plants to allow the heat, normally wasted in electricity generation, to be put to good use. These Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plants are more efficient in their operation, reducing both energy costs and carbon emissions.

An increasing number of mills also make use of waste products to make energy. A number of CHP plants at paper mills are powered by waste wood.  Using such a renewable resource reduces the emission of fossil carbon and, as a consequence, paper production can be “zero carbon”. In some instances, making paper can even be energy positive with excess electricity and heat exported from the site for use elsewhere. Paper fibres that can’t be reused to produce new paper are used by some paper mills as a fuel to generate energy to help make or dry new paper.

The Paper Industry works continuously to optimise its processes and is already the biggest single user and producer of bio-energy in Europe9.

8 CEPI Forest Fact Sheet 2008
9 CEPI Position Paper: Biomass sustainability criteria should be binding and harmonized!


......© Confederation of Paper Industries, 1 Rivenhall Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN5 7BD