IBM tips plan to convert scrap wafers into solar panels

October 31, 2007 – IBM says it has developed a method to repurpose scrap semiconductor wafers that’s more efficient at pattern removal, to be reused as monitor wafers or sold to solar firms and converted into solar panels. The process is currently in use at IBM’s Burlington, VT, facility, and is being implemented at its semiconductor fab in East Fishkill, NY.

Getting monitor wafers from the reused scrap generates up to 90% energy savings, since IBM doesn’t have to procure net new wafers. When the monitor wafers reach end-of-life they are sold to the solar industry, where (depending on individual solar cell firms’ processes) hey could save 30%-90% energy vs. new silicon material sources.

The process saved about $500k at the Burlington site thanks to reduced spending on monitor wafers and better efficiency in IBM’s wafer reclaim program. Projected annual savings are nearly $1.5M in 2007, plus a one-time savings of >$1.5M for reclaiming stockpiled wafers.

About 3.3% of the world’s 250,000 wafer starts/day end up scrapped, adding up to ~3 million discarded wafers annually, according to SIA data cited by IBM. That amount could otherwise generate 13.5MW of solar energy, produce 57M kWh in solar panels (12-hour day x 365 days), and power 6000 homes (9500 kWh/year/house), IBM notes.

The new process recently won an award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, for “most valuable pollution prevention.”

POST A COMMENT

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

NEW PRODUCTS

Dynaloy unveils safer cleaners
11/19/2014In response to evolving industry trends and customer preferences for products with better environmental, health, and safety (EHS) profiles, Dynaloy LLC is launching three...
Entegris' VaporSorb filter line protects advanced yield production
10/21/2014Entegris, Inc. today announced a new product for its VaporSorb line of airborne molecular contamination (AMC) filters. ...
Next-generation nanoimprint lithography technology
10/21/2014EV Group (EVG) today introduced its SmartNIL large-area nanoimprint lithography (NIL) process....