The Paper Industry and Renewable Energy
Greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane are largely from high energy consumption industries. They pollute the atmosphere and cause climatic disorders such as drought, acid rain, flood, pollution, heatwaves, and heavy rainfall.
So, to prevent future disaster, many high energy-consuming industries have set up plans to transition from the usage of non-renewable energy (fossil fuel, etc.) to renewable energy. Also proffering ways to recycle wastes instead of exposing them to the environment.
Paper industries are one of the high energy consumers that find it easier to transition to renewables because almost every wood product can be recycled and used to generate clean and carbon-neutral energy. Research has it that 62% of the energy used by European paper industries comes from renewable sources and has reduced the rate of carbon dioxide emission by 26% despite the 45% upswing in production.
So, here are set-up strategies used by the paper industries to mitigate the utilization of non-renewable energies
Trapping Carbon Dioxide from the Environment
The process of trapping carbon dioxide from the environment is known as sequestration. Forest trees are natural sequesters; they trap in atmospheric carbon dioxide right from their early stage of growth till maturity and even after being felled and processed. In this essence, products derived from the forest trees can trap a certain percentage of carbon dioxide. Products like paper, toilet paper, and cartons can trap carbon dioxide.
So, how does this apply to the paper industry? Let's break it down. The majority of the industries consume a considerable amount of energy; the paper industry is one of such, releasing a significant amount of waste into the surroundings, containing carbon dioxide and other harmful gas. Now, curtailing the effect of this harmful waste by planting and replanting trees is highly recommended. And so also, it is advised that the paper industry capitalizes on paper packaging. These recommendations will help trap back a significant amount of carbon dioxide.
In this regard, in a bid to decarbonize the atmosphere. We have liaised with one tree planted to plant trees to restore nature and attain a carbon-neutral environment.
The Usage of a Single Energy Source to Produce Thermal and Mechanical Energy
This strategy is also known as combined heat and power (CHP), where a paper industry uses a heat engine or power plant to generate electricity and thermal energy. Here, instead of allowing the heat waste generated from the machine to escape into the environment, a handful of heat recovery technology is utilized to convert the heat waste into useful resources.
The overall benefit of CHP, also known as cogeneration, is to reduce the rate of waste emission into the environment by recycling all the heat waste from the paper-making process into a biofuel.
Recycling of Paper Industrial By-products
Natural wastes or by-products such as sludges, black liquor, lime mud, pulp mill sludge, woody residuals, and papers mostly come from the paper industry. This waste pollutes the environment by emitting certain harmful gas or chemicals. For instance, decomposing paper emits methane gas. So, it is advisable to abolish the incineration of paper wastes which will, in the end, release a dose of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Since paper wastes are renewable, they should be recycled by converting them into heat energy(biofuel) used for powering their plant. This process will enable the paper industry to sustain its zero greenhouse gas emission goal.
Despite being in a digital age, the need for paper products keeps surging; with kilograms of paper products sold every day, this will increase the production rate of paper industries. And as the production rate rises, so does the energy consumption. Despite this, Paper industries could still achieve a sustainable and carbon-neutral production by utilizing the biomass to fuel their activities. Today, to some extent, biomass is cost-effective compared to non-renewables.
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