ecoFluor-Project: Testing climate-friendly new technology to reduce emissions

Press briefing / December 14, 2015

Solvay, Texas Instruments, Muegge and Fraunhofer EMFT aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the semiconductor industry. For this purpose they will be testing alternative fluorine gas mixtures to be used in the cleaning processes. This three-year project, called ecoFluor, is partly funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF) and will start on 1st January 2016.

The program focuses on new cleaning processes unavoidable in the semiconductor industry. They shall become more environment-friendly due to an alternative gas mixture based on fluorine, nitrogen and argon. The share of fluorine in this novel cleaning gas mixture is 20 percent lower than in the conventional gas mixtures.

Such replacement can have a significant environmental impact, considering that the most widely used cleaning gas, nitrogen trifluoride, has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 17,200 times that of CO2, while the proposed alternative has a GWP equal to CO2. “ecoFluor’s cleaner alternative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will moreover improve the process efficiency for the users”, said Rodrigo Elizondo, Commercial Director at Solvay.

The ecoFluor project is partly funded within the core program of “r+Impuls - innovative technologies for higher resource efficiency of industrial processes”, embedded in the framework of “research for sustainable development” (Forschung für nachhaltige Entwicklung (FONA)). The project will run for three years with major milestones including validation and optimization of the new cleaning processes on production equipment and final release to industrial production.