Energy efficiency improvement is a continuous target for UPM and we keep our standards very high with regard it. The More with Biofore thinking is our starting point in energy efficiency, too.
Energy is a significant variable cost for the paper industry. Thus, in addition to environmental reasons, energy efficiency is driven by the cost saving needs.
The UPM mills use energy as electricity and heat. In paper manufacturing, most of the energy goes for mechanical pulp production, pumping, drying of products and for vacuum systems.
The energy we use comes mostly from combined heat and power (CHP) plants that are on our own mill sites and produce both electricity and heat. In many cases these plants produce also municipal heating for the areas close to site. The energy is mainly produced from renewable, biomass-based fuels such as black liquor, bark and forest residues. Renewables account for 67 per cent of all fuels UPM uses globally. In addition, 78 per cent of all the electricity we produce is CO2 neutral.
Systematic progress on energy efficiency
UPM has been improving its energy efficiency for many years. The good progress is a result from campaigns, audits and investments. We have completed successfully over 240 energy saving projects, and made major efforts to implement best practises to promote energy efficiency. The results speak for themselves – per every paper tonne, we currently use 20% less electricity than 10 years ago!
In 2013 alone, we reached a 6.1M€ reduction in energy costs and at the same time cut down our energy consumption by 138 000 MWh. Annually, the cost reduction totalled to 8.7M€, while the energy consumption decreased by 195 000 MWh.
In most cases relatively modest investments result in considerable savings. For example, a recent investment into the thermomechanical pulping process (TMP) process at the UPM River Mills in Finland cut down our electricity consumption in a volume that equals to annual power consumption of 23 000 households (as per global average).
Auditing is best to do in-house
An important tool to improve our energy efficiency are energy audits which we have been carrying out at our mills systematically since the year 1997. Normally the audits are carried out by our own, experienced professionals. All of our biggest mills are audited every few years. The focus in these audits is on usage of water, heat and electricity in the whole mill integrate, as well as on the energy production of our own power plants. A plan to improve the efficiency is part of the audit. Internal and external best practices are used as benchmarks in the audit.
The discussions between different specialists during these audits have proven to be very fruitful. They guarantee that the best practices are spread across the organisation and all parties gain valuable knowledge and experience. A true win-win situation!
The energy audits are very much appreciated in UPM and they are seen as an excellent tool to improve the energy efficiency. This demonstrates a strong awareness and commitment of UPM employees to energy savings measures. Thus, we are happy to say, that we have a solid foundation for future energy efficiency initiatives.