A kinetic model was developed to predict batch simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation (SSCF) of paper sludge by the xylose-utilizing yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae RWB222 and the commercial cellulase preparation Spezyme CP. The model accounts for cellulose and xylan enzymatic hydrolysis and competitive uptake of glucose and xylose. Experimental results show that glucan and xylan enzymatic hydrolysis are highly correlated, and that the low concentrations of xylose encountered during SSCF do not have a significant inhibitory effect on enzymatic hydrolysis. Ethanol is found to not only inhibit the specific growth rate, but also to accelerate cell death. Glucose and xylose uptake rates were found to be competitively inhibitory, but this did not have a large impact during SSCF because the sugar concentrations are low. The model was used to evaluate which constants had the greatest impact on ethanol titer for a fixed substrate loading, enzyme loading, and fermentation time. The cellulose adsorption capacity and cellulose hydrolysis rate constants were found to have the greatest impact among enzymatic hydrolysis related constants, and ethanol yield and maximum ethanol tolerance had the greatest impact among fermentation related constants. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2009; 104: 920–931. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.