STMicroelectronics Malta Powers up with 100% Biofuel

STMicroelectronics Malta Powers up with 100% Biofuel

STMicroelectronics has announced that its Kirkop back-end semiconductor manufacturing facility in Malta has taken the initiative to use only biodiesel fuel for the diesel-powered vehicles in its transport fleet and for its boiler systems.

ST Malta, which is the largest exporter and one of the largest employers in the country, is now using biodiesel B100 (100% biodiesel) to power its fork-lift trucks, road vehicles and the boilers which heat its facility. B100 is produced entirely from recycled edible oil used in catering processes and contains no petroleum products. With a start-up cost of less than $1,000, the biodiesel program is expected to save approximately $3,200 in fuel costs per year, thanks to lower consumption and fuel prices. The real saving, however, is the dramatic cut in the emissions of harmful gases and particulates that are present when normal petrodiesel is used.

Commenting on the B100 scheme, Georges Auguste, corporate vice president and director of total quality and environmental management, STMicroelectronics, said: "This scheme is yet another positive demonstration of the environmental benefits that can easily be achieved, at zero cost, not only by ST but by other companies worldwide."

A study by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency found that B100 reduced total unburned hydrocarbons by more than 65%, carbon monoxide up to 48%, and total particulate matter up to 47%. Other research also shows that the ozone forming potential of the hydrocarbon emissions from pure biodiesel is nearly 50% less than that of petroleum-based fuel. Pure biodiesel contains no sulphur and therefore reduces sulphur dioxide exhausted from diesel engines that use it to virtually zero. PAH and nPAH compounds (identified as carcinogenic compounds) are also reduced drastically by 80% and 90%, respectively.

Biodiesel fuel can also help to meet national goals for the net reduction of atmospheric carbon. As a renewable fuel derived from organic materials, the use of biodiesel reduces the net amount of CO2 in the biosphere. The U.S. Department of Energy found that biodiesel production and use generate 78.5% less CO2 emissions than petroleum diesel. In appropriate geographical areas, carbon dioxide is 'taken up' by the annual production of crops such as soybeans and then released when vegetable-oil-based biodiesel is burned, making biodiesel the best technology currently available for heavy-duty diesel applications to reduce atmospheric carbon.

ST has set high environmental goals alongside its more conventional business ambitions. As long ago as 1995 it defined and published its Environmental Decalogue, a ten-point roadmap of timed and quantifiable targets leading towards the ultimate goal of becoming environmentally neutral. The roadmap defines specific objectives for reducing consumption of energy, water and chemicals, and for reducing and limiting greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

In 2003 the company was judged Best Industrial Renewable Energy Partnership in the final year of the European Commission's five-year 'Campaign for Take-Off' competition. The prize was awarded in recognition of ST's ambitious program to obtain 15% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2010, and of its progress towards that target. All of ST's manufacturing sites are EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) validated and ISO14001 certified, international standards for environmental management aimed at reducing environmental impact.

The Malta plant was recently recognized by the European Union Management Award for Sustainable Development.