Improving energy efficiency in the industrial sector is being prioritised in many countries because of its importance in the pursuit of energy supply security, increasing economic competitiveness and in reducing greenhouse gases emissions. One of the most energy-intensive industries in North America and Europe, is pulp and paper.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2014, the pulp and paper industry accounted for 24% of the total energy consumed by all manufacturing operations in the country. This was down from 31% in 2005. This decline reflects changes in the demand for certain paper products such as newsprint (Canada’s primary newsprint market, the United States, witnessed a considerable fall-off in newspaper circulation as more readers migrated to digital media sources), as well as energy efficiency improvements at various mills.
Typical paper mills use most of their energy in the pulping and drying processes, but the specific energy consumption in pulp and paper production is a result of several factors, including plant size, product mix, processes used, the technical age of the mill, feedstock quality, plant capacity utilization, and climate conditions.
Investment to improve energy efficiency in the pulp and paper industry can deliver large energy savings, improved productivity, and reduced environmental pollution. Opportunities to improve energy efficiency include: heat recovery, cogeneration, increased use of (self-generated) biomass fuel, and increased recycling of recovered paper, efficient motors and improved efficiency of steam use.
The pulp and paper industry requires a typically high amount of power and heat in forms of hot air and/or steam. And, with such a high, steady demand for heat as well as power, many pulp and paper plants are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the benefits offered by Thermal Energy’s best-in-class heat recovery, cogeneration, and steam trap solutions.
Our FLU-ACE® heat recovery technology can recover as much as 90% of the heat normally lost through dryer section / hood exhausts in the form of water at 50°C to 70°C. This is possible using the FLU-ACE’s unique direct contact (gas/liquid) packed-tower design, enabling optimal recovery of both sensible and latent heat, in widely varying operating conditions.
The pulp and paper industry remains a prime candidate for cogeneration. Thermal Energy’s Super-Efficient Cogeneration™ solutions can provide up to 70% savings on electrical costs at a self-generated kWh cost of less than $0.04/kWh, and an additional 10% to 20% natural gas energy savings from up to 90% recovery of heat losses from existing exhaust streams.
Our GEM™ steam traps help pulp and paper manufacturers achieve a 10% to 20% permanent reduction in steam costs. GEM steam traps have no moving parts, require virtually no maintenance, and come with a ten-year “no fail” performance warranty, which means increased reliability and less maintenance costs. Venturi orifice designed GEM steam traps can help eliminate water hammering problems, eliminate the cost of replacing failed traps, and improve a plant’s production output.
Our pulp and paper customers recognize their social obligations and their role in the communities and countries in which they operate. In fact, many proactive forest-industry companies have brought responsible business practices visibly into their corporate strategies and communication efforts. We look forward to continuing to work with pulp and paper companies in helping them achieve their corporate energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction goals.