IBM Converts Waste To Solar Energy
IBM recently announced that they had developed a new process in which they are able to turn used silicon wafers into solar panels. With this process, IBM is able to efficiently remove the intellectual property imprinted on the wafers so that they may be used for other purposes, such as solar panels or internal manufacturing calibration as
"One of the challenges facing the solar industry is a severe shortage of silicon, which threatens to stall its rapid growth,” said Charles Bai, chief financial officer of ReneSola, one of
China's fastest growing solar energy companies. "This is why we have turned to reclaimed silicon materials sourced primarily from the semiconductor industry to supply the raw material our company needs to manufacture solar panels."
"IBM’s commitment to environmental conservation spans its business, from the re-purposing of materials used in semiconductor manufacturing to enabling customers to manage, measure, and run the most power efficient datacenters on the planet," said Mike Cadigan, general manager, IBM Semiconductor Solutions. "The engineering ingenuity that IBM has demonstrated in pioneering the wafer-to-solar panel program has generated countless other conservation initiatives in our manufacturing operations
By utilizing scrap wafers for monitor wafers, IBM is able to generate an energy savings of up to 90% due to the removal of the need to procure new wafers. Used monitor wafers may then be sold to the solar panel industry who, depending on how they process them, could save 30-90% of the energy they would have otherwise used with a new silicon source. This leads to an overall reduction in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
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