Computer Chip Makers to Use Default Emissions Numbers

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency plans to allow the largest semiconductor manufacturers to report default emission amounts from the plasma etching process based on general industry standards rather than reporting actual measurements of emissions from the recipe used in each process.

     The Semiconductor Industry Association asked the agency to change the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule purportedly because its members feared that reporting recipe-specific emissions could allow competitors to derive the specific recipe used by each facility. This, the association argued, would be forcing manufacturers to reveal their trade secrets.
     The association also said that a manufacturer might try hundreds to thousands of different recipes in a single year, making reporting the emissions from each recipe an unreasonable burden.
     The EPA agreed to allow the use of default numbers for the 2010-2011 reporting year while the agency works with manufacturers to devise less burdensome ways to report actual emissions without revealing trade secrets.
     The default reporting method may result in over reporting of certain types of greenhouse gasses, as the default numbers are based on the largest likely emission from a facility for the production of a given quantity of semiconductor substrate.
     The change in reporting applies to facilities that fabricate devices on wafers measuring 300 millimeters or less in diameter and that have an annual manufacturing capacity of greater than 10,500 sq. meters of substrate.
     The Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, adopted in 2009, requires annual reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from emitters and suppliers, in certain sectors of the economy, of products that will result in emissions when combusted, released or oxidized.
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