At Edwards Vacuum I am the Environmental Solutions Business Development Manager and I'm also a visiting Industrial Professor up at the University of Bristol.
The United Nations IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They issue guidance to all governments and other bodies reporting greenhouse gases, so that everybody reports in the same way. This means you are comparing apples with apples and they have just completed the latest iteration of that, which was published last year.
It actually incorporates a lot of changes in the industry. There's a lot of new gases now being used that weren't in the past. Also, there's some new science. There is an understanding now that some greenhouse gases can actually be generated as unwanted by-products from certain processes. Even from some of the gas treatment systems.
Edwards make gas treatment systems, but by design they don't make these unwanted gases.
Unfortunately, other ones do, so Edwards equipment is included by default. If you like, it's guilty until or unless you can actually prove it is innocent with proper testing and certification.
This all affects our industry greatly, because by having to report greenhouse gas emissions it drives people towards best practice, which is clearly to use as little greenhouse gas as you possibly can. But then also to treat the waste gases before they're emitted to the atmosphere, because some of these gases can live in the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years. They may be tens of thousands of times more impactful than carbon dioxide.
Why the guidelines have been upgraded
These refined guidelines have been upgraded because there was a growing realization that there is a mismatch between what you measure in the atmosphere, which we refer to as top down and what’s reportedly emitted by humanity, which is termed bottom up.
Two new mechanisms for PFC formation during semiconductor manufacturing have been identified and emission factors have been added to the latest IPCC refinement:
CF4 formation by reaction of fluorine with hydrocarbon fuel in combustion- based abatement in systems that mix the fuel and process chamber effluent.
CF4 formation when cleaning chemical vapor deposition (CVD) chamber deposits.
CF4 is of particular concern because it has an atmospheric life of 50,000 years which might as well be forever.
The IPCC website is a very good information resource but also you can find more information on the Edward's website, both about the background to climate change and in the context of the semiconductor industry. Also it covers products that can help you abate these gases before they're emitted.
Environmental Solutions Business Development Manager
Download Professor Mike Czerniak’s IPCC guidelines review.