Roadmap towards an energy efficient pulp mill: benchmarking, global interactions analysis, and practical projects

Organized by Natural Resources Canada, FPInnovations and PAPTAC
Organisé par Ressources Naturelles Canada, FPInnovations et PAPTAC



Nov. 18, 2020 14:00 – 15:00 ET


Enrique Mateos Espejel &
Tatiana Rafione, FPInnovations

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The Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada (PAPTAC), in collaboration with the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and FPInnovations will be hosting a series of webinar on opportunities for advanced manufacturing in Canada’s forest sector. The purpose of the webinar is to share knowledge on emerging or commercially available technologies with industry and demonstrate how they can be implemented.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in unprecedented economic turbulence and lower demand for almost all forest products, as well as increased operating costs in order to ensure health and safety of workers. More importantly, COVID-19 compounds existing challenges including declining timber supply due to wildfires and pests, trade disputes with the U.S., and declining demand for printing and writing paper products.

NRCan, FPInnovations and PAPTAC actively support the forest sector transformation and view advanced manufacturing as a key strategy to make the sector more competitive and resilient. While great strides were made over the past decades on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in the forest sector, NRCan, FPInnovations and PAPTAC are fully committed to build on that momentum and provide industry the tools required to realize the full potential of the circular bioeconomy.


Energy cost reduction measures within P&P mills have become a priority to ensure long term economic survival in a highly competitive market. Biomass provides 60 % of the P&P mill energy consumption, but there is still substantial utilization of fossil fuels and opportunities to cost-effectively reduce the energy consumption and increase production of green power for sale to the grid. Eliminating GHG emissions requires a multi-pronged approach beginning with optimizing energy use, valorizing excess heat, and maximizing its recovery. Pulp and paper mill have become flexible facilities capable of adjusting to the high variations in the price and demand for pulp and energy.

In this presentation, an energy efficiency optimization approach is presented based on process integration (site-wide analysis). An initial step is the characterization of the mill current state based on benchmarking analysis: comparison with the performance of a typical mill; and with the mill’s own historical operating data. Using a site-wide approach helps ensure alignment between the global perspective, water and energy networks systems and local process operation realities. Insights on systems interactions are developed to prevent pitfalls in the selection and sequencing of energy projects. Process simulation is used to track changes to the temperature profile of the process and be able to quantify the changes in steam consumption and waste heat. Performing an energy efficiency analysis in pulp and paper mills is a complex task and often difficult to translate into tangible projects; however the end result of the approach are practical energy reduction projects and it also serves as a strategic aid for pulp and paper mills to determine short, medium and long term priorities for capital utilization in energy efficiency projects.

Enrique Mateos

Enrique Mateos Espejel currently holds the position of Senior Scientist in the Thermal Process group of FPInnovations. He has expertise in energy efficiency, process integration, data analysis, process debottlenecking and process simulation. He holds a B.Eng. and a M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad de las Americas Puebla (Mexico), a Ph.D. in chemical Engineering from École Polytechnique de Montréal and an MBA from John Molson School of Business. He joined FPInnovations in 2010 and has worked in the development of holistic methodologies to improve the energy efficiency of P&P processes while considering energy, water and techno-economic aspects. As part of his work with FPInnovations, he has participated in numerous energy efficiency optimization studies to help mill reduce energy and water consumption and greenhouse gases emissions.

Tatiana Rafione currently holds the position of Senior Scientist in the Thermal Process group of FPInnovations. She holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal. She joined FPInnovations in 2014 where she participated in energy efficiency studies in several Canadian pulp and paper mills, with a focus on process integration and optimization. Recent works include process troubleshooting using advanced data analysis tools and techniques.

Tatiana Rafione