Intel Gets the Lead Out of Processors

Intel Gets the Lead Out of Processors

Intel's fastest computer processors, starting with the Xeon, Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad lines, will all be manufactured without the use of lead starting this year, the company announced today.

As part of its "aggressive stance" on environmental sustainability, in the words of Intel VP Nasser Grayeli, the company will remove the lead from its manufacturing processes for its 45-nanometer line of processors. Grayeli said Intel is also increasing its focus on energy efficiency in its products as part of its environmental platform.

By 2008, after the 45-nm processors have been converted to lead-free technology, Intel said it will begin taking the lead out of its 65-nm chipsets.

Because lead poses a risk both to the environment as well as human health, Intel has been working to develop lead-free products and processes for years. In 2002, Intel produced its first lead-free flash memory products. In 2004, the company began shipping products with 95 percent less lead than previous microprocessor and chipset packages.

In addition to eliminating the use of lead in its products, Intel has developed a number of environmental best-practices in its factories and operations. It is also designing and building energy efficiency into everything it does, from the smallest 45nm transistors in its forthcoming lead-free processors and today's high-performance Intel Core 2 Duo processors that consume up to 40 percent less energy to broad support for industry standards and strong public policies. Among some other examples of the company's environmental practices:
  • Earlier this year Intel transitioned its Intel StrataFlash Cellular Memory packages to halogen-free technology. The company is currently evaluating the use of halogen-free flame retardants in its CPU package technologies.
  • In 1996, Intel led an industry-wide agreement to reduce global warming gas emissions in semiconductor manufacturing, and today is working with the European Union to discuss how the technology sector can help meet the EU's target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
  • Intel is focused on reducing the natural resource use and waste by products of its manufacturing process. In the past 3 years, the company has saved more than 9 billion gallons of fresh water through conservation measures, and reduced its global warming gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 50,000 automobiles from the road.
  • It has reduced hazardous materials in its products and recycles more than 70 percent of its chemical and solid wastes.
  • Intel makes renewable energy a priority. The company is the single-largest purchaser of wind power in Oregon and the largest industrial consumer of renewable energy in New Mexico.
  • Through Intel's ongoing conversion from 200mm to 300mm wafers, it has been able to reduce water consumption by approximately 40 percent for each square centimeter of silicon produced.
  • Intel has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its work on Energy Star and employee commuter programs.