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Estimating carbon emissions from the pulp and paper industry: A case study

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  • Wang, Yutao
  • Yang, Xuechun
  • Sun, Mingxing
  • Ma, Lei
  • Li, Xiao
  • Shi, Lei

Abstract

The pulp and paper industry is a high energy consuming and polluting sector, and carbon emissions emitted from this sector are worthy of attention. This article, based upon an analysis of China’s Pulp and Paper Industry (CPPI), provides estimates of each of the following: carbon emissions from energy consumption, pre-treatment sector, combustion of condensed black liquor, and methane emitted from incomplete aerobic digestion during sewage treatment of CPPI. During the study period (2005–2012), total CO2 emissions ranged from 126.0Mt to 155.4Mt. Energy consumption was estimated to be the largest source of carbon emissions, however, due to the application of the local emission inventory rather than the IPCC inventory, energy consumption decreased by 4.7%, a lower percentage than was calculated in a previous study. According to this study’s estimation, the emissions caused by the recovery of biomass energy contributed 26–29% of the total CO2 emissions. CH4 generated from sewage treatment accounted for 9–11% of the total carbon emissions. The CO2 intensity dropped during the study period, which reflected the improvement of energy efficiency in the pulp and paper industry. The outcome of this study provides not only detailed information about CPPI’s carbon emissions, but also a calculation framework for studying carbon emissions from pulp and paper sector in the other regions. It suggests that the local carbon emissions inventory should be used for estimating carbon emissions and to reduce the fossil fuel energy, increase energy recovery from biomass, and that promoting cleaner production is essential to achieve a low carbon development of the pulp and paper industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Yutao & Yang, Xuechun & Sun, Mingxing & Ma, Lei & Li, Xiao & Shi, Lei, 2016. "Estimating carbon emissions from the pulp and paper industry: A case study," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 779-789.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:184:y:2016:i:c:p:779-789
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.05.026
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