In the past year, five companies – Dell, HP, Lenovo, Best Buy and Wal-Mart – have come together to ask their LCD panel suppliers to reduce the amount of potent fluorinated greenhouse gases used during their manufacturing process, according to the EPA.
Specifically, the companies asked that suppliers 1) develop a standard method for measuring F-GHG emissions, 2) set new voluntary F-GHG emissions reduction goals with public timelines for demonstrating progress, and 3) develop annual progress reports. The request was prompted by an EPA initiative to cut suppliers’ F-GHG emissions.
Company-specific profiles were subsequently posted by the EPA that covered each supplier’s efforts.
The 2014 update to the profiles included 12 suppliers that represent 99 percent of all panels produced globally. Information in the update indicated progress has been made in the area.
Some suppliers have outfitted their newer manufacturing facilities – those that make the largest LCD panels for 50-inch and larger TVs – with equipment that captures and destroys F-GHGs. Overall, reported annual emissions are continuing to decrease, both on a per meter of glass produced basis, and in some cases, across an entire facility or facilities.
However, it is clear that more needs to be done. Some LCD suppliers still need to implement key reduction measures at their newer facilities, and many have yet to outfit older facilities with climate-benefitting measures. A few suppliers have not publically reported any control efforts.
Of the reporting suppliers, AUO, Panasonic, Sharp, HannStar, INX and CPT reported having fully installed abatement on all new generation fabs. Additional reporting suppliers included Samsung Display and LG Display. The eight reporting suppliers represent 91 percent of large-area flat panel displays sold globally.
Non-reporting suppliers included BOE, CEC-Panda, China Star and InfoVision.
Last year the EPA estimated that emissions from LCD panels will reach between 11 and 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020. However, if LCD panel production experiences high growth, emissions could increase to a level as high as 35 million metric tons CO2e.