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Facing Perils in the Paper Industry

by Becky Brun
NW Current, October 31, 2006

West Linn Paper Co. is taking steps to reduce energy. State-of-the-art paper mills are banking huge energy savings.

The "Pulp and Paper Industry Bandwidth Study Report," released October 2006, found state-of-the art paper mills consumed 46 percent less fossil fuel than average mills. Going a step further, mills with advanced technologies could reduce fossil fuel consumption by 75 percent.

The report, released by the Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) of the U.S. Department of Energy, addresses how the energy-intensive pulp and paper industry can improve overall efficiency.

The 116-page report shows "areas of opportunity" among the six major energy users within the U.S. pulp and paper industry. For example, paper drying, which uses almost twice the energy of any other paper manufacturing process, could achieve a potential energy reduction of 79 percent if best practices and more energy-efficient technologies were employed, according to the report.

By focusing research and development in paper drying and other high energy-consuming processes, ITP could reach its goal of reducing steam demand in state-of-the-art mills by 15 percent before 2015.

In the Northwest, the pulp and paper industry is the second-largest energy user. Through the Industrial Efficiency Alliance, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is working with pulp and paper companies to help pinpoint energy inefficiencies [see "Industry taps into efficiency programs", nwcurrent, Oct. 2006].

NEEA provides energy-management practices assessments, and in exchange, participants are asked to commit to a Continuous Energy Improvement Program (CEIP). According to NEEA, CEIPÕs have the potential to increase production capacity, improve equipment reliability and reduce operating costs and energy use by 5-20 percent. By 2010, NEEA and related utility efforts are expected to save the region over 500 average megawatts, enough to offset the need to build two new power plants.

"The idea is that once we get these industries on board, weÕll move this idea into other industries," said Stacey Hobart, communications manager for NEEA.

The "Pulp and Paper Industry Bandwidth Study Report was prepared by Jacobs Engineering and the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) at Georgia Institute of Technology. The full report can be found at

Becky Brun
Facing Perils in the Paper Industry
NW Current, October 31, 2006

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