Reducing Emissions And Energy Needs

The paper industry has focused on energy consumption for years. Energy efficiency is seen as the core of good mill performance. It takes centre stage in the performance assessments of machines, mills and countries. The effect of rising energy costs surpasses that of any policy incentive. The key challenge of these economically hard times has been the lower capacity utilisation of machines, with consequent reductions in efficiency per tonne of product produced. Pulp and paper companies have found ways to overcome this aspect of the crisis, by maintaining efficiency, despite lower capacity utilisation.

Energy prices in North America have decreased due to the shale gas boom and have a negative impact on the competitiveness of the pulp and paper industry in Europe. While gas prices in Europe have doubled since 2003, and are expected to keep growing, shale gas in North America has brought gas prices to extraordinary low levels. This situation is unsustainable. The competitiveness of all industry in Europe is seriously at risk.

Today 95.2% of electricity is produced on-site of paper mills in Europe using the energy efficient combined heat and power method.
Energy consumption of our mills has decreased by 4.7% in the last two years;


The industry has become more self-sufficient. More and more electricity is supplied to the national grid, too.
Specific coal and fuel oil consumption has decreased, as well as the consumption of gas. However, biomassbased energy has grown further in the last years. This was driven by the installation of new biomass boilers in mills across Europe;

We continuously work on energy efficiency improvements


Although the sector is energy intensive, it is less carbon intensive than other sectors. The pulp and paper industry operates at the crossroads of CO2 reduction policies, renewable energy policy and energy efficiency policy. This is why CEPI is advocating the removal of support  for co-firing of wood in coal plants which only produce electricity.

Biomass such as wood that has a use as raw material should not be used as a source of energy. Biomass is a renewable, recyclable and climate friendly raw material. It is the basis for the much needed bioeconomy in Europe. Efficient use of biomass does not include the use of
biomass for co-firing in coal plants which only produce electricity. The current average efficiency of coal plants is between 30% and 35%. Burning wood, the main biomass source, in coal plants at these efficiencies is a waste of raw material, not a climate reduction measure.

The European paper industry contributes a fifth of Europe’s biomass-based energy consumption, most of which is used to cover the sector’s own energy needs. As a result it is affected by, but also contributes to the success of, EU climate and energy policies. Restrictions on the availability of wood generate tensions on the feedstock markets and pose a risk to the supply of raw materials. Currently 56% of
the paper industry’s energy use is biomass-based, making it the largest industrial producer and user of bioenergy

Since 31 December 2012 a new regulation on bioenergy is in place in Poland. It requests a higher share of renewables in energy production. Most importantly it eliminates subsidies for the production of energy from full timber.

56% of our energy
use is bioenergy


The sector’s emission profile consists of direct emissions from combustion of energy sources on site, indirect emissions from electricity purchased from the grid and, to a limited extent, heat purchased from third parties.
The paper industry’s use of bioenergy has a dramatic effect on its emission profile as the CO2 emissions from biomass are considered carbon neutral by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The potential to use energy from carbon neutral renewable sources
which can substitute fossil fuels and products is an indisputably asset to the sector. Pulp and paper emit carbon,
store carbon and substitute fossil carbon.

Direct CO2 emission produced by pulp and paper in CEPI countries have decreased in the last two years from 37.45 mega tonnes in 2010 to 36.24 mega tonnes in 2011 and 34.55 mega tonnes in 2012. This is a continuation of the downward trend, which goes hand-in-hand with thefuel mix change and efficiency improvements. Also the specific CO2 emissions per kilo tonne of product decreased since 1990 by 43% per tonne of product, which is a key achievement in the current harsh and competitive climate

-43% CO2 emissions
since 1990

Almost all pulp and paper mills are part of the EU Emission Trading System, the EU ETS. Just over 1,000 installations have been permitted within this scheme, which has been in place since 2005. The pulp and paper mill’s emissions have to be covered by emission credits, which are partly received for free and partly have to be bought at government auctions. This is a burden which competing countries around the world do not have to carry. The European Commission overseas the only region in the world where there is a set target for all industrial sectors
to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. CEPI aims to find the balance between
international competitiveness and further improving the sector’s emission performance.
The emissions of SOx in the paper industry are directly connected to the use of specific fossil fuels, e.g. coal, fuel oil. The continuous reduction of SOx emissions in the last years correlates with the fuel mix change in the sector, e.g. the higher shares of natural gas and biomass use.

NOx emissions into the air occur from energy production (fuel conversion) in all mills and recovery boilers in pulp mills. NOx emissions can also come from natural gas and biomass use. The emissions of NOx (and CO) have a strong correlation with the efficiency of the processes.
The more efficient the process, the smaller the emissions per tonne of product.

Our ambition is to help combat climate change and minimise our impact on the environment.


Because of the environmental impacts associated with transporting forest products, CEPI issued carbon footprint guidelines in 2010 promoting them ever since, with the goal of helping companies assess the carbon footprint related to the transport of their finished products and raw
materials. Innovation, smart solutions and rationalisation in the transport and logistics field can have a great impact on competitiveness and sustainability and must be an important part of the sector’s strategy.


CEPI is extremely concerned by the impact of measures taken at International Maritime Organization (IMO) and EU levels to reduce sulphur emissions. The competitiveness of jobs in Northern Europe will be affected, which adds to the adversity of the current economic context.
In the absence of alternative fuels such as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and reliable abatement technologies, it will substantially distort the playing field within the EU and with the rest of the world. The resulting “modal back shift” from maritime transport to road transport
and the likely higher greenhouse gas emissions are in contradiction with the objectives of the EU White Paper on Transport.

We are motivated to help combat climate change and minimise our impact on the environment



CEPI set out to boost innovation in low carbon technology by launching the Two Team Project. We established two competing teams (Red and Blue) and gave them the task of identifying breakthrough concepts of technologies and processes to make the pulp and paper manufacturing process more energy efficient and to add more value.

The teams applied a unique method of open innovation in a trade association, crowdsourcing ideas from all interested stakeholders. Breakthrough technologies are at the core of CEPI’s ‘2050 Roadmap to a low-carbon bioeconomy’. Such technologies must be available by 2030 if the industry hopes to deliver on the Roadmap’s two objectives: 80% decarbonisation of the sector and 50% value creation by 2050. In November 2013, eight breakthrough technology concepts will be delivered as the outcome of the Two Team Project. One will be crowned by a jury as the most promising.

Sofidel, a European manufacturer of paper for hygiene and domestic use, is pleased to announce that they met their five-year target to reduce CO2 emissions by 11%, a goal that was set in 2008. To meet their target, Sofidel invested 25 million Euros over a five-year period in renewable sources (photovoltaic and hydro-electric), cogeneration (combined production of electricity and steam) and improvement works to increase energy efficiency (e.g., LED lighting). CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION

CEPI aisbl / Confederation of European Paper Industries
250 Avenue Louise, Box 80, B-1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 627 49 11 / Fax: +32 2 646 81 37
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