This paper compares different energy-related investment options that can be implemented in a kraft pulp mill with a potential steam surplus. The options investigated include lignin extraction, electricity production, capturing of CO2 and black liquor gasification with production of electricity or biofuels, here DME. The investment options are compared with respect to annual net profit and global CO2 emissions for different future energy market scenarios. A further analysis of how different parameters such as policy instruments and investment costs affect the different technologies also is included. The results show that, generally, for reasonable levels of biofuel support, the best economic performance among the studied technologies is achieved by extraction of lignin valued as oil. However, if the level of support for biofuels is high, black liquor gasification with DME production generally has the best economic performance among the studied options. All the investment options investigated decrease global CO2 emissions significantly. Capturing and storing CO2 from the recovery boiler flue gases result in the highest CO2 emissions reduction and also is an economically attractive option in scenarios with a high CO2 emissions charge. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.