Energy efficiency and renewable biomass-based fuels

We strive to improve our energy efficiency in everything that we do. Low-carbon fuels and climate-smart energy production solutions are a key part of our sustainable energy management strategy.


​Energy efficiency is at the core of everyday actions

We are a major energy producer. Most of the electrical and thermal energy we use goes into mechanical pulp and paper production. We favour renewable and other fossil CO2-free energy sources as well as natural gas. Wherever possible, we strive to improve our energy efficiency. Biomass-based fuels make up 70% (2018) of our total fuel usage.

We strive to continuously improve its energy efficiency across all its operations. During the last 20 years, the energy efficiency of our production has significantly improved thanks to energy audits, innovations and internal campaigns.

Our pulp and paper mills –  which use electrical and thermal energy in their production processes – account for  most of our total energy consumption. Most of this energy is consumed in the manufacturing of mechanical pulp, pumping, vacuum systems and paper drying. Our electricity consumption per tonne of paper has decreased by 12% over the last ten years.

All our pulp mills and almost all our paper mills generate steam and electricity simultaneously in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant. External power companies generate all or part of the energy for certain UPM mills.


Sharing best energy practices

We have carried out regular energy audits at its mills since 1997. The auditing process focuses on improving each mill’s energy balance, particularly concerning the use of electricity, heat and process water. When the audit is complete, the audit team presents a list of potential energy saving suggestions. They also calculate the energy saving potential and produce a rough classification of possible investment needs. With good ideas, savings can often be achieved without major investment.

Low-carbon energy sources 

Fossil carbon-free energy sources  make up most of our energy portfolio. We also use hydropower, nuclear power and efficient combined heat and power (CHP) using mainly biomass at our mill sites. Biomass-based fuels account for 70% (2018) of the fuels we use. We are the second-largest generator of biomass-based electricity in Europe.

Increased energy efficiency leads to lower energy consumption and reduced emissions. Emissions can be reduced by choosing the right fuels, combustion technology and flue gas purification methods.

Possible air emissions Source​ ​Reduction measure
Carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, small amounts of particles and organic compounds - Energy generation at power plants; emission parameter depends on used fuels - Minimised by efficient purification, by the choice of fuels and by controlling the combustion conditions in the boilers
​Odour from malodorous sulphur compounds TRS (total reduced sulphur) - Chemical pulp production - ​Reduced by collecting and burning
​Odour from decomposing of organic substances - Closed-circuit water systems (e.g. through high temperature and anaerobic conditions) - Measures taken at mill sites when needed
Noise - Production facilities, e.g. wood handling, debarking, suction pumps - ​Controlled at the source or along its propagation
- Minimised at the stage when new equipment is being acquired and new facilities constructed
- Older plants systematically refitted with sound insulation systems

Did you know that pulp mills produce lots of bioenergy?


Solar Success for UPM Shotton