A technical, economic, and environmental analysis of energy production from newspaper in Ireland

Document Type



Civil and Environmental Engineering

Publication Details

Waste Management


The production of newspaper corresponds to 37 kg per person per annum in Ireland. Newspaper becomes a waste product in a short period of time; only 13% of domestic waste paper is recycled (data on newspaper is not available). Four scenarios, which generate energy from newspaper, are analysed. These scenarios may be summarised as follows: lignocellulosic biomass conversion to ethanol (transport fuel); co-digestion with the organic fraction of municipal solid waste and production of CH4-enriched biogas (transport fuel); co-firing with the residue of municipal solid waste in an incinerator; and gasification of newspaper as a sole fuel. Two of the scenarios involve transport fuel production; two involve the production of electricity and heat. Two of the scenarios involve newspaper as the sole ingredient; two involve co- utilisation of newspaper with another waste stream. Assuming no economic market for heat, then only the transport scenarios have the potential to be economic; indeed the biogas scenario is shown to be extremely competitive generating a potential profit of €227/t newspaper. A greenhouse-gas analysis indicates that the biogas scenario generated the best net greenhouse-gas savings. However when a market for heat is available, gasification was shown to be most advantageous.

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