Texas Instruments

2012 Corporate Citizenship Report


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NOx and VOC emissions

Contributing to cleaner air is important at each of our sites globally, but it is perhaps most critical at our operations in North Texas and Santa Clara, Calif., where ambient outdoor air-quality standards for ozone, an air pollutant also known as smog, exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Smog forms when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – commonly emitted by cars, lawnmowers or other combustion devices (including those in manufacturing operations) – are "baked" in the atmosphere during warm months. This produces a haze that can be harmful to humans, plants and animals when exposed over long periods of time.

For years, our environmental team has implemented initiatives that reduce ozone-forming emissions by:
  • Eliminating toxic VOCs in manufacturing processes where feasible and replacing them with more benign but effective substitutes.
  • Using thermal oxidizers, which destroy VOCs in industrial airstreams, to remove pollutants from exhaust produced in manufacturing. When possible, we install rotary concentration thermal oxidizers, which remove VOCs and lower NOx more than previously available technology and save energy.
  • Using a catalyst to remove VOCs at a lower operating temperature, which also lowers NOx emissions by more than 50 percent per unit.
  • Improving the efficiency of facility system and manufacturing equipment, which reduces energy consumption and the associated upstream power plant emissions.
  • Upgrading burners in boilers and other natural-gas combustion devices to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Using ultra-low NOx burners and low-sulfur fuels in our combustion devices where feasible, which produce lower NOx emissions than conventional burners and help reduce ozone formation.
  • Limiting the testing of our North Texas emergency generators and the use of discretionary combustion engines (such as landscaping equipment) during "ozone action" days.
  • Encouraging employees at our North Texas sites to use alternative forms of transportation when the air quality has been designated as poor.
These activities have allowed us to significantly reduce annual emissions. In fact, at our North Texas campus (one of our largest), we have reduced NOx emissions by almost 30 percent in the last five years.

Additionally, our Commute Solutions program has enabled a number of employees to use alternative, fuel-efficient commute options, further reducing smog in the communities where we operate.