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Assessment of Paper Industry Decarbonization Potential via Hydrogen in a Multi-energy System Scenario: A Case Study


Green hydrogen is currently regarded as a key catalyst for the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries. In this context, the pulp and paper industry stands out as one of the most demanding, given the simultaneous need for large amounts of heat and electricity usually satisfied via cogeneration systems. Given the urgent need for cost-effective solutions in response to the climate crisis, it is crucial to analyze the feasibility of retrofitting existing power plants to operate carbon-neutral. The aim of this work is to provide a techno-economic analysis for the conversion of a conventional cogeneration system to run on locally produced hydrogen. Building on the energy consumption of the paper mill, the operation of a hydrogen-fuelled gas turbine is modelled in detail. Based on these results, a multi-energy system model for the production of green fuel is presented, considering production via solar-powered PEM electrolyzers, storage in tanks and final use in the gas turbine. An optimal configuration for the system is defined, leading to the definition of a solution that ensures a cost of 6.41 /kg for the production of green hydrogen. Finally, a sensitivity analysis highlights the close dependence of the economic profitability of the Power-to-X system on the natural gas price. The results indicate that although positive performance is achieved, the cost of investment remains still prohibitive for systems of this size, and the high initial capital expenditure needs to be supported by incentive policies that facilitate the adoption of hydrogen in industrial applications making it competitive in the short term.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy

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