Drivers and barriers in retrofitting pulp and paper industry with bioenergy for more efficient production of liquid, solid and gaseous biofuels: A review

Elina Mäki (Corresponding Author), Heidi Saastamoinen, Kristian Melin, Doris Matschegg, Hanna Pihkola

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
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Ample interest for more efficient utilization of bio-based residues has emerged in the Nordic pulp and paper (P&P) industry, which uses virgin wood as feedstock. Although different bioenergy retrofit technologies for production of liquid, solid, and gaseous bioenergy products have been applied in the existing P&P mills, the number of installations remains small. The lack of profound knowledge of existing bioenergy retrofits hinders the replication and market uptake of potential technologies. This review synthesises the existing knowledge of European installations and identifies the key drivers and barriers for implementation to foster the market uptake of potential technologies. The bioenergy retrofits were reviewed in terms of technical maturity, drivers, barriers and market potential. Based on this evaluation, common drivers and barriers towards wider market uptake were outlined from political, economic, social, technical, environmental, and legal perspective. Technologies already commercially applied include anaerobic fermentation of sludge, bark gasification, tall oil diesel and bioethanol production, whereas lignin extraction, biomethanol production, hydrothermal liquefaction and hydrothermal carbonization are being demonstrated or first applications are under construction. The findings of this review show that a stable flow of residues at P&P mills creates a solid base for retrofitting. New innovative bio-based products would allow widening the companies' product portfolios and creating new businesses. Also, European Union's (EU) legislation drives towards advanced biofuels production. Wider uptake of the retrofitting technologies requires overcoming the barriers related to uncertainty of economic feasibility and unestablished markets for new products rather than technical immaturity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106036
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 817999.


  • Advanced biofuels
  • Bioenergy
  • Pulp and paper industry
  • Renewable energy
  • Retrofit


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