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IMB Process Turns Scrap Silicon Wafers into Solar Cells  (Source: IBM)
IBM reclaims junk silicon for solar panels

We all use items every day that have components that start as silicon wafers – items ranging from our computers and cell phones to our digital cameras. What many don’t know is the sheer volume of silicon wafers that are started in production each day and end up being discarded.

IBM says these discarded wafers were traditionally ground up and thrown into landfills or melted down and resold because of the intellectual property on the wafers, which kept them from being able to be resold outside the company.

IBM announced today a new process that it invented to take discarded silicon wafers and reclaim them specifically to be sold to the solar cell manufacturing industry. The new reclamation process involves taking etched silicon wafers that are discarded and using a polish wheel/compound along with de-ionized water to remove all of the intellectual property from the surface of the wafer. The process does not damage the silicon underneath.

This new process is revolutionary won IBM the “2007 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award” from The National Pollution Prevention Program. IBM says that worldwide about 250,000 silicon wafers are started each day and that up to 3.3 percent of these wafers end up being discarded amounting to about three million discarded wafers each year.

In addition to merely saving the material and time used in the manufacturing of the reclaimed silicon wafers, IBM says that it sees an overall 90 percent energy savings because repurposing the scrap means IBM doesn’t have to manufacture as many new wafers to meet demands of its production process.

Companies that buy the repurposed wafers can save 30 to 90 percent of the energy normally needed if they used new silicon material as the source. Using this new process IBM was able to save more than $500,000 USD in 2006 and ongoing savings for 2007 will be near $1.5 million USD.

Solar panel manufacturers are also excited about this new process, "One of the challenges facing the solar industry is a severe shortage of silicon, which threatens to stall its rapid growth,” said Charles Bai, CFO 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."



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RE: I have a sneaking suspicion
By Gul Westfale on 10/30/2007 7:13:25 PM , Rating: 3
so are you saying that this was al gore's idea? jesus f. christ man, first he invents the internet, then he saves us from manbearpig, and now this? quick, someone give this man a nobel prize! oh, wait...


RE: I have a sneaking suspicion
By Etsp on 10/30/2007 8:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
Now he just needs to save us from the manbearpig in our...imaginations!


RE: I have a sneaking suspicion
By quickk on 10/31/2007 10:09:35 AM , Rating: 5
What Al Gore said was:
quote:
During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the internet. [1]


His statement is completely justified considering he created and introduced the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991, which led to the creation of a high speed fiber optic network and then the Mosaic web browser in 1993 [2].

Two internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn have said:

quote:
[A]s the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. [3]


For a complete description, see this wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gore_Bill.

[1] [http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/...
[2] http://www.computerhistory.org/internet_history/in...
[3]http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettim...


RE: I have a sneaking suspicion
By Gul Westfale on 10/31/2007 11:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
kind of ironic, how the husband of tipper "PMRC" gore is associated with the creation of the greatest porno delivery system in the history of mankind.


RE: I have a sneaking suspicion
By quickk on 11/1/2007 3:30:02 PM , Rating: 2
I should of checked my links... To get the first link to work, remove the period at the end. The correct link should be:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gore_Bill


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