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Applied Materials Inc.

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: product testing

Industry: Electronics Manufacturing

Wastes Reduced: ethylene glycol

Equipment: Kleer Flow

Location: Austin TX

No. of employees: 5000

Contact: Ashay Ajgaonkar

Phone: 512-272-6523


Applied Materials utilizes ethylene glycol in the heat exchangers that are manufactured and sold at the Harris Branch site in Austin. Before shipping the heat exchangers, Applied Materials conducts reliability tests on them to assure they work properly, using a mixture of glycol and deionized water. Instead of continually filling the tested heat exchangers with new ethylene glycol, Applied Materials now recycles the spent coolant and remixes it with deionized water to obtain the same fluid characteristics as the new glycol/water mix. The pilot recycling project is presently running in Building 31 using a Kleer Flow model AF-250 recycle. The heat exchangers blow down spent coolant to the recycling station that then processes the coolant and restores it to its original form. After mixing with deionized water, the coolant mixture is stored in its original bottles from the manufacturer. Applied Materials wrote an operations manual to establish procedures for providing the correct temperature and percentages of coolant and water in the recycled mixture.

P2 Application:

Applied Materials plans to expand the recycling operations to include all its buildings by purchasing more Kleer Flow recycles or outsourcing the operation to a company in recycling coolant. Applied Materials is in the process of conducting audits of possible specialist companies. The pilot operation using the Kleer Flow model yielded product that appeared as good as new in all lab analysis. The recycle effectively removed solid particles from the glycol and partially restored its resistivity. Though high temperature operation of heat exchangers sometimes causes contamination of the spent coolant, the results proved contamination was not an issue and that indefinite repeated recycling of glycol is not only feasible but a good idea since the coolant never wears down.

Environmental Benefits:

By recycling the ethylene glycol mix used to test the heat exchangers in Building 31, Applied Materials reduced its ethylene glycol waste by 4083lbs (440 gal) in 1999, though the recycling process was not installed until May of 1999. In 2000, so far, Applied Materials has reduced ethylene glycol waste by 33,440 lbs (3600 gal). Since the company's manufacturing, volume will increase in upcoming years. The waste reduction will increase for 2001 and 2002. The use of new ethylene glycol also decreased by the same amounts quoted above in 1999 and 2000 since recycled coolant was employed instead of new coolant. In terms of regulatory requirements, Applied Materials hopes to eliminate the requirement to provide a Toxic Release Inventory by recycling all of its ethylene glycol in the future. This will also benefit its Waste Minimization Plan, reportable on the TNRCC Source Reduction and Waste Minimization form.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

Analysis of the costs involved proves that the recycling program has a short payback period and great savings in terms of disposal and raw materials cost. Assuming that the operations cannot be outsourced, the costs (per building) involved in implementing the ethylene glycol recycling program are the following: One time fees: • Purchase of a Kleer Flow recycle ($3,500) • training of employees on how to use the coolant recycle (20 hours at $20/hr = $400) Continual fees: • Labor, energy, and filter costs ($.76/gal = $543/yr*) Cost savings of recycling the glycol (per building) include: Reduced material savings: • new glycol mix ($11/gal = $7,865/yr) Reduced disposal costs: • disposing of the spent glycol mix ($12/gal = $8,580/yr*) Reduced regulatory reporting requirements: • elimination of the TRI = $500/yr for site = $100/yr/bldg. *Assuming the 1999 recycling rate/month (6,635 lbs/yr/bldg.) If a conservative estimate using the 1999 recycling rate for future years is made, the pay back period is 89 days. Since ethylene glycol does not wear down, the costs benefits' longevity relies only on the Kleer Flow model and the building equipment's (heat exchangers, blow down station, etc.) life. Additionally, the recycling program will show greater profits as the manufacturing rate of heat exchangers increases. Hence, the more systems Applied Materials ships, the greater the savings from the recycling of ethylene glycol. The cost savings analysis and environmental benefits show that through the recycling of ethylene glycol, Applied Materials can increase its reduction of wastes and profits at the same time.

Source: TCEQ

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