All that shimmers...August 1, 2015 at 8:00am
Green energy. Whether it's from the sun, wind, ocean, or manufactured biofuels, we as a planet are incorporating more and more natural and eco-friendly “Green” fuels as each day passes. And the goal of using fewer fossil fuels and manufacturing processes that generate less harmful pollutants into our air, land, and water are priorities. However, as solar energy and the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells grows, the cost of producing these products becomes more competitive. The industry may very well be shooting itself in its proverbial foot as the trail of chemical pollution all but negates the environmental value of this “green” energy source.
We all know that solar energy and other “green” energy sources are better for the environment. But what most people don't know is that in the race to produce cost effective photovoltaic panels for solar energy, the chemical pollution that is being created in process is climbing. It is leaving behind a trail of chemical pollution so vast, it all but offsets the value and environmentally positive effects of solar power. Mining processes that put miners at risk of silicosis. Initial refining of quartz into metallurgical- grade silicon (used to harden steel in many cases) by means of giant furnaces that use fossil fuels. This form of metallurgical-grade silicone is then turned into a purer form called polysilicon, which creates the very toxic compound silicon tetrachloride. Which, when silicon tetrachloride is exposed to water when it is casually dumped, creates hydrochloric acid, emitting harmful fumes and contaminating the soil. That's the bad news.
However, there are several opportunities today to mitigate the negative effects of the manufacturing process. One such opportunity is to use eco-friendly products. An innovative solution has been developed here at UDM Systems in North Carolina. Our solution, used in wafer die processing and photovoltaic cell manufacturing is water-based, non-hazardous, non-caustic, non-acidic, and biodegradable for safe and ease of disposal, thus eliminating the need for PEG and Silicon Carbide. By identifying the opportunity for eco-friendly and truly biodegradable products to be introduced into the manufacturing process, UDM Systems is at the forefront of creating a solution to the chemical pollution issue in these manufacturing processes. By taking these steps, we can start to leave a smaller footprint.