Monday, November 19, 2007

IBM Pioneers Process to Turn Waste into Solar Energy

IBM announced an innovative new semiconductor wafer reclamation process pioneered at its Burlington, Vermont manufacturing facility. The new process uses a specialized pattern removal technique to repurpose scrap semiconductor wafers -- thin discs of silicon material used to imprint patterns that make finished semiconductor chips for computers, mobile phones, video games, and other consumer electronics -- to a form used to manufacture silicon-based solar panels. The new process was recently awarded the “2007 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award” from The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR).

Video: IBM Pioneers Process to Turn Waste into Solar Energy

IBM estimates that approximately three million silicon wafers worldwide are scrapped each year by the semiconductor industry – representing a significant solar recycling opportunity:
Stretch for 375 miles if placed end-to-end
Cover 22.5 acres of area
Weigh 187.5 tons
Generate 13.5 megawatts of solar energy
Produce 57 million kilowatt hours in solar panels (12-hour day x 365 days)
Power 6,000 houses (9,500 kWh per year per house)

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