Linde enables electronics customers to lower their carbon footprint by 250,000 tons in 2010
Adoption of on-site generated fluorine on the rise
Munich, Germany – 26 April 2010 – Driving the industry to shift focus from Grid Parity to Green Parity and pushing for sustainable electronics manufacturing, Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, today announced that it has enabled customers to reduce their CO2 emissions by a quarter of a million tons in 20101 by switching to on-site generated fluorine (F2) from nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
This is the same amount of CO2 produced by over 125,000 mid-size cars2 annually.
Prominent manufacturers of photovoltaics, semiconductor and TFT-LCD devices as well as research sectors are adopting Linde’s on-site fluorine generators as a more productive and energy-efficient alternative to the use of the greenhouse gas NF3 and other PFC (Per-Fluoro-Compound) gases for the cleaning of CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) chambers.
In 2009, Linde’s on-site fluorine was successfully tested on all the major thin-film PV OEM platforms, and Malibu and Masdar PV were among the first to announce adoption of on-site F2 as the cleaning gas of choice to manufacture large-scale PV modules – eliminating the use of NF3. Production systems for these two customers have been delivered and the elimination of NF3 from the process has begun.
“Fluorine offers the rare combination of sustainable solar module production and profitability, by removing any risk of unabated emissions, reducing non-productive cleaning time and improving throughput,” says Ian Travis, Global Product Manager Fluorine for Linde Gases Division.
Interest in on-site fluorine is also growing across all sectors of the electronics industry. LG Display in Korea has benefitted from the obvious parallels between thin film solar and TFT-LCD display manufacturing, increasing the capacity of on-site fluorine generation by 20 percent in 2009 to match growth in demand for its LCD panels. To support Korea’s growth as the manufacturing hub for TFT-LCDs, Linde is making a significant investment in its F2 manufacturing infrastructure at its Inju plant.
Last year, Europe’s first on-site fluorine generators were installed at STMicroelectronics’ Crolles 300mm wafer fabrication plant in France – as part of the company’s initiative to lower the environmental impact of producing semiconductors, by eliminating high pressure cylinder deliveries. A major Japanese semiconductor manufacturer has also recently chosen to replace their high-pressure cylinder supply of F2 with on-site generated F2 at their 300mm fab – reaping advantages of improved safety and lower costs. The on-site approach is also particularly suitable for locations where import and distribution networks for certain electronic materials are not as mature as in other regions. To overcome such challenges, the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences installed its first on-site F2 generator in 2009.
“Environmental concerns continue to dominate the global agenda, and the manufacturing ecosystem as a whole needs to start channelling its efforts towards reducing carbon emissions,” said Dean O’Connor, Head of Market Development & Technology at Linde Gases Division. “Collaboration with industry leaders in photovoltaics, semiconductors, flat panel displays and academia is testament to Linde’s commitment to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.”
Notes to editors
1 Equivalent CO2 reduction in 2010 using Linde estimate
Fab Cleaning Gas CO2 Equivalent Emissions
A Linde on-site F2 equivalent NF3 (tons/year) approximate figures for 2010 145
B GWP100 for NF3 (tons CO2 eq) ref  17,200 tons
C NF3 lifecycle emission ref : Scripps Institute measurements 16%
D NF3 CO2 eq lifecycle emission ref : ECN/M&W-Z study 2,200 kg CO2 per kg NF3
E NF3 lifecycle emission [Linde estimate] 10%
F Equivalent CO2 reduction in 2010 using ref  = AxBxC 399,040 tons
G Equivalent CO2 reduction in 2010 using ref  = A x D 319,000 tons
H Equivalent CO2 reduction in 2010 using Linde estimate = AxBxE 249,400 tons
 NF3 CO2 kg equivalent = 17,200 / kg NF3 from International Panel on Climate Control 2007
 Weiss et al. Geophysical Research Letters, in press 31 October 2008, “Nitrogen trifluoride in the global atmosphere”; this assumes that NF3 used in a PV fab will have the same lifecycle emissions as Weiss et al. have determined is the average for NF3 processes over the last 30 years.
 de Wild-Scholten + Schottler. ‘The Carbon Footprint of PECVD Chamber Cleaning using Fluorinated Gases’ 23rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Confernece, Valencia 2008.
2 Based on an average EU fleet emissions of 130g CO2 / km and an annual 15,000 km per annum
About The Linde Group
The Linde Gases Division, part of the Linde Group, is a leader in the international industrial and healthcare gases markets, providing compressed, bulk, specialty and medical gases, as well as chemicals to virtually all fields of industry globally. The company adds value to its customers’ businesses through the provision of state-of-the-art application technology, process know-how, services and equipment.
The Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company with almost 48,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2009 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 11.2 billion. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.
For more information, see The Linde Group online at http://www.linde.com.