Recovery of Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) from Chemical Vapor Deposition Operations in the Semiconductor IndustryEPA Contract Number: 68D70051
Title: Recovery of Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) from Chemical Vapor Deposition Operations in the Semiconductor Industry
Investigators: Wijmans, J. (Hans) G.
Small Business: Membrane Technology and Research Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: September 1, 1997 through September 1, 1999
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1997) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), particularly perfluoroethane (C2F6), are used by the semiconductor industry in wafer etch processes and in cleaning chemical vapor deposition (CVD) tools. There are about 200 semiconductor plants worldwide, each using on average 100,000 lbs/year of C2F6. The industry is growing rapidly and is currently adding 50 plants each year. Much of the C2F6 used is released to the atmosphere. Although the total release of C2F6 is relatively small, the global warming potential of this gas is so large that it contributes significantly to the greenhouse effect. The estimated lifetime of C2F6 in the atmosphere is at least 10,000 years, and its global warming potential is 13,500 times higher than that of carbon dioxide. Because of these environmental concerns and because of the important uses of C2F6, the semiconductor industry is actively searching for recovery technologies. The Phase I work demonstrated that membranes can effectively concentrate C2F6 and other PFCs. Final recovery then is achieved by a condensation step. A technical and economic analysis indicated that a simple payback time of less than 1 year can be achieved.
In the Phase II project, a demonstration system will be built and operated at a semiconductor facility. Support for system development and testing will be provided by a company that specializes in the development and marketing of semiconductor capital equipment.