Being a good environmental steward includes looking for ways to reduce air emissions in the communities where we live and work.
To help maintain air quality, TI typically emits air contaminants below permitted limits, including NOx and VOC emissions, ozone-depleting substances and other emissions -- and minimizes these, to the extent practical. All of our sites around the world implement new methods and best practices for improving air quality, and also integrate air-quality requirements into their management systems to ensure compliance and regulatory reporting of air-quality performance.
We work to actively reduce emissions in our operations, including energy reduction and efficiency measures, equipment maintenance, efficient product transportation, and internal promotion of our employee commute programs.
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 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.
For years, our environmental team has implemented a number of measures that reduce ozone-forming emissions by:
Eliminating chemicals 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. Where 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 VOC air emissions at a lower operating temperature, which also lowers NOx emissions by more than 50 percent per abatement system.
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 consistently reduce emissions each year. 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.
Ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) are widely used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, cleaning solvents and electronic equipment.
We do not use Class I or II ODSs as raw materials to manufacture semiconductor products. However, we do use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are considered a Class I ODS, in our closed-loop facility refrigeration systems for cooling equipment heat exchangers. Our closed-loop systems contain and reuse these chemicals, and environmental discharges occur only in the event of equipment leaks. If leaks of any quantity are detected, certified technicians repair them as soon as possible.
To reduce or eliminate releases of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), we:
Developed a standard more than 20 years ago to phase out the use of Class I ODSs worldwide, in support of the Montreal Protocol and U.S. Clean Air Act.
Stopped using CFCs in open-loop manufacturing systems in 1993.
Monitor CFC leakage rates worldwide, and repair or replace equipment when necessary.
Eliminated the use of CFC refrigerants and are phasing out CFC-dependent equipment.
Implemented a CFC refrigerant recycling program.
Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), also called toxic air pollutants, include 187 pollutants identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA works with state, local and tribal governments to reduce the release of HAPs to the environment. In the U.S., we control and help reduce HAP emissions by:
Utilizing abatement technologies at manufacturing sites Capping the emissions for HAPs, which keeps emissions below EPA regulatory thresholds.
Having an environmental specialist carefully screen new uses at each site to ensure that we do not exceed regulatory thresholds our emissions cap.
TI submits information each July to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), a comprehensive database that monitors the release of more than 650 chemicals and chemical categories from various industries.