California to Force Chip Makers to Cut GHG Emissions

California to Force Chip Makers to Cut GHG Emissions

California will become the first state in the U.S. to regulate highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in the manufacture of chips used in computers, cell phones and other electronics.

The state Air Resources Board said last week it will phase out the use of several fluorinated gases found in semiconductor operations to process chips. The move is part of a series of early actions undertaken by the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

The regulations would cut emissions of the fluorinated gases by 56 percent. These gases, which include sulfur hexafluoride, are highly potent and 6,500 to 23,900 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The plan will cost about $37 million over 10 years, including $22 million in initial capital costs and roughly $850,000 in recurring annual costs.

Twenty-eight semiconductor operations must meet the emissions standards by 2012, while those updating their operations have until 2014 to comply. Of these 28 companies, 12 are already in compliance. All semiconductor operations must file an initial report of fluorinated gas emissions by 2011, followed by annual reports.

Microchip photo CC-licensed by Flickr user BotheredByBees.