Pulp and paper production is an energy intensive process, that accounts for about 9 % of industrial final energy use in Italy in 2016. While the energy intensity of the total manufacturing sector has decreased by 51 % over the last twenty years, pulp and paper industry has shown a slower improvement, of only 4 %. The sector presents wide opportunities for improving energy efficiency and, for this purpose, adequate knowledge of the energy saving potentials and their costs are essential prerequisites to design effective policies. In this paper, after assessing the current technologies and energy performance of the Italian pulp and paper industry, we identify the technical and economic potentials for fuel and electricity savings in the sector. While many studies in this field use data on efficient technologies from available literature, surveys or even theoretical estimates, the added value of this paper is the use of real data coming from 110 energy efficiency measures implemented in the field by the pulp and paper companies under the Italian White Certificates Scheme.
The analysis indicates that the energy saving potentials, under conservative technology penetration rates, amount to 0.88 TWh for electricity and 4.47 TWh for fossil fuels consumption: such savings equal 12.6 % and 18.6 % of the sector electricity and fuel demand, and can be translated into mitigated CO2 emissions of 353 kt.