Gas Abatement System achieves DREs above 95%.

Press Release Summary:



Powered by electric heaters that completely eliminate use of methane, Alpine-S is capable of abating all process and PFC gas emissions with destruction and removal efficiencies (DREs) of over 95% for both chemical vapor deposition and etch applications. Flameless, catalytic decomposition reactor operates in range of 850-950°C, while vortex device removes heat, particles and water-soluble acids, and helps to extend preventive maintenance cycle times.



Original Press Release:



TecHarmonic Charts Industry-Leading Success Milestone in Abating Global Warming Gases in Semiconductor Manufacturing



Company's Alpine-S Gas Abatement System Achieves Destruction and Removal Efficiency (DRE) Levels Above 95 percent

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 28 / / -- TecHarmonic, Inc. (THI), the semiconductor industry's premier innovator of Clean Technology solutions, today launched the Alpine-S, the industry's first and only point-of-use (PoU) gas abatement system with the capability to abate all process and perfluorocompound (PFC) gas emissions with destruction and removal efficiencies (DRE) of well over 95 percent for both chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and etch applications. The breakthrough DRE performance metrics puts THI well ahead of its nearest competitors, whose DRE figures for their installed systems continue to languish below 70 percent. To date, seven customers have placed multiple orders for a total of 38 Alpine-S systems, placing this groundbreaking clean technology solution in all three major semiconductor manufacturing regions: Europe, USA and Asia.

The Race to Slash Global Warming Gas Emissions
Over the last decade, the emission of known global warming gases into the atmosphere has become an issue of considerable concern. Leading global institutions have responded to the threat by launching a series of initiatives to drastically reduce the gas emissions. The best known treaty is the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The semiconductor industry has voluntarily followed with its own emissions reduction protocol -- the 1999 World Semiconductor Council's Agreement on PFC Emissions -- an ambitious move that calls for a radical reduction in PFC (or global warming gas) emissions by the year 2010. This initiative has put providers of emission control solutions on notice to innovate new technologies capable of meeting the twin challenges of enabling the production of advanced integrated circuits built on larger wafers with an increasing number of layers, while vastly reducing the volume of PFC emissions associated with their manufacture.

New Performance Standards for Gas Abatement Technology
Not surprisingly, this initiative imposes stringent new performance requirements for new-generation gas abatement systems -- especially for CVD chamber-cleaning gases, which typically account for more than 80 percent of global warming gas (GWG) emissions from today's semiconductor industry. Today, the most common abatement tools burn methane to heat and break down hazardous gases -- an inefficient method to generate energy that actually produces additional GWGs. These tools are grounded in old legacy technologies that carry multiple liabilities. First, methane is inherently explosive -- a danger that poses grave concern to safety-conscious fab personnel and causes some local governments and major IC manufactures to prohibit their use for abatement. Second, most methane burners installed today are unable to reach the temperatures required to abate the most stable PFCs, thereby forcing chipmakers to modify the systems so that they can reach the higher temperature by burning methane in oxygen. But, the increased fuel consumption associated with this method, coupled with the reduced lifetime of the heater and other consumables at elevated temperatures, makes the cost of operation prohibitively high.

The Alpine-S: Delivering on the Promise of Cleaner Air
THI's Alpine-S represents a different, more reliable and much safer gas abatement approach. Powered by electric heaters that completely eliminate the use of methane, the system is geared to exceed the new performance requirements associated with the removal of acidic, pyrophoric, volatile organic compounds and global warming gases from all CVD and etch processes. The Alpine-S' flameless, electrically-heated catalytic decomposition reactor achieves world-class DRE's operating in the range of 850 to 950 degrees Celsius, which contrasts sharply with competitive methane burners that must reach a highly volatile temperature of 1400 degrees Celsius in order to abate the stable GWGs. The Alpine-S system features:

-- A proprietary heated catalyst that lowers the temperature required to decompose the carbon-based PFC gases, such as CF4, from 1400 degrees Celsius to less than 950 degrees Celsius.
-- A patented vortex device that removes heat, particles and water- soluble acids and helps to extend preventive maintenance cycle times.
-- Gas volume accommodation that enables the Alpine-S to accommodate a gas volume of up to 50 percent higher than competitive systems, which substantially reduces the overall cost of ownership.
-- Workhorse tool that can outlast the preventive maintenance (PM) cycles of the etch and chemical vapor deposition tools it services, thereby avoiding process tool downtime due to unexpected clogging in the gas abatement system. PM cycles are up to 10 times longer than competitive abatement systems on tough CVD applications.

According to THI's chief executive officer, Bill Delaney, "Overwhelming customer interest in the Alpine-S validates the system's promise to deliver an innovative, reliable, cost-effective and much safer alternative to conventional methane-burning gas abatement tools in today's fab. We're extremely encouraged by the tool's DRE results and very pleased to be partnering with several leading fabs in their quest to drive down their PFC emissions."

To learn more about TecHarmonic's portfolio of clean technology solutions, please visit the company at SEMICON West, West Hall, Level 3, Booth # 9335, July 11-13, 2006 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, Calif.

About TecHarmonic, Inc.
TecHarmonic, Inc. (THI) is the semiconductor industry's premier innovator of Clean Technology solutions. The company develops and markets a line of gas-abatement products to remove acidic, toxic, pyrophoric, volatile organic compounds and global warming gases from multiple semiconductor manufacturing process tools. THI's flagship product, the Alpine-S, is the industry's first and only point-of-use (PoU) gas abatement system with the capability to abate all process and perfluorocompound gas (PFG) emissions to well over 95 percent destruction and removal efficiencies (DRE) for both chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and etch applications. THI is headquartered in San Jose, California. More information on the company can be obtained on the Internet at www.techarmonic.com

CONTACT: Bill Delaney, President and Chief Executive Officer, +1-408-828-6152, or bdelaney@techarmonic.com, or Jane Evans-Ryan, +1-408-489-6391, both of TecHarmonic, Inc.

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