Corning Inc. received the New York State Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention on Aug. 25 for its voluntary redesign of an existing technological process that has resulted in a significant reduction of air emissions.
The process was redesigned by Corning scientists and engineers for the company's Canton, N.Y., plant, which is one of the world's leading suppliers of high-purity fused silica, an ultrapure glass used in the semiconductor industry.
As a result, the Canton plant was able to eliminate its hydrogen chloride emissions from the forming process, while still producing the same quality glass it had produced before the process redesign. Prior to this process redesign, the plant was emitting more than 600 tons of hydrogen chloride (HCl) per year.
"We invested millions of dollars in this project because we are committed to improving our environmental performance whenever possible," said Randall D. Price, executive vice president, Advanced Materials. "Our efforts, and the cooperation from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, resulted in a win-win situation. There is a positive impact on the community, and Corning is able to continue to produce the same high-quality, high technology products."
In addition to the HCl emissions, the plant was able to reduce its particulate emissions by approximately 98 percent through the installation of state-of-the-art baghouses. The nonhazardous particulate collected in these baghouses is sold and used as a raw material in another industry. Capturing and recycling the particulate from the manufacturing process prevents a large volume of material from being landfilled.
The award was presented to Corning by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at the 12th-annual Pollution Prevention Conference in Rochester, N.Y. The Governor's Award recognizes pollution-prevention practices that exceed the legal requirements of environmental protection and successfully reduce or eliminate the generation of pollution at its source.
The Canton plant employs approximately 300 workers and manufactures high-technology glass. The advanced materials are used as lenses in microlithography equipment for the semiconductor industry, mirrors for land- and space-based telescopes, and windows for NASA's Space Shuttle and the International Space Laboratory.