When we think about the problems associated with paper, deforestation and is consequences come to mind first, but the paper industry uses up more than just our planet's woodlands. The paper industry in the United States consumes 2.2 percent of all energy. This means the industry is a bigger energy consumer than many other types of manufacturing, including food processing, textiles, machinery, computers and transportation equipment like cars.
Manufacturing paper requires tremendous heat, and during the process, the heat given off is too low in temperature to continuously power the systems. An innovative new heat pump created by the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands has recently been introduced to address this problem. The pump increases the temperature of the waste heat given off during manufacturing, so that it is suitable for powering the paper making process. As a result, manufacturers can reduce their energy consumption by as much as 10 percent. The device uses natural, eco-friendly refrigerants and produces heat in the form of clean steam.
Currently, the new heat pump is being used at a packaging company in the Netherlands as a part of the research and development process, but there is hope that the pump could soon become available for use in paper mills around the world.
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