On October 28, AU Optronics’(AUO) President and CEO, Dr. L.J. Chen delivered a keynote speech,"Green SELECT: The Way Towards a Low Carbon Society", at the recent2009 FPD International Summit held in Japan.
In his presentation, Dr. Chen illustrated how a forward-lookingtechnology company, such as AUO, might combine opportunism withaltruism to capture business opportunities while helping to solvegrowing worldwide environmental problems.
Citing examples from Song Dynasty, Dr. Chen explained how a lowcarbon footprint throughout most of history has been the norm, withatmospheric carbon levels remaining relatively flat. However, startingwith the industrial revolution, atmospheric CO2 levels began to rise at~16.4% per century – a growth spurt that now threatens to increase theEarth’s temperature by 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 – and, could lead torapid melting of polar ice caps and rising sea levels.
Dr. Chen pointed out, with the risk of Tokyo, Taipei, and New Yorkbeing underwater in 2100, our current business concerns like Gen 10 orGen 11 display substrates become insignificant.
With the goal of helping bring the world back to 1980 CO2 emissionlevels by 2020, AUO is launching its “Green SELECT” program, whereSELECT means, Solar, Energy Service Projects, Lighting, E-paper, Car, and TFT Display. He then elaborated on AUO’s initiatives in each of these areas.
Solar: Since solar generated power will be used inresidential and commercial installations as well as in solar farms, AUOforecasts crystalline and thin film (TF) solar will split the market by2015. Therefore, AUO is investing in multiple solar technologies to bea “Total Solution” provider. This includes investments in poly-Si waferbusiness, R&D in high efficiency TF and crystalline solartechnologies, and partnerships with cell and module makers.
Energy Service: This initiative focuses on makingcleaner factories and energy efficient building designs. For example,AUO’s own Gen 8.5 Fab L8A factory shows to be greener. With 90% processwater recovery, 90% construction waste recovery, and 21% total energysavings, a reduction of 87,000 tons of carbon emissions were achieved.
Lighting: AUO also plans to use lighting relatedtechnologies to improve the efficiency of display backlights and homeand commercial lighting. They are designing LCD products with LEDbacklights, starting with NB computer panels (80% LED in 2009 and ~100%next year), TVs (reaching 20% penetration next year and ~80% by 2013)and monitors (similar penetration path as LCD TVs). All of their TV andIT panels are expected to use LED backlights by 2015, reducing energyconsumption per area by 50% or more. AUO is also planning or developingLED and OLED applications for residential and commercial lighting.
E-paper: Using technology from SiPix (anelectrophoretic technology similar to that of E-Ink) AUO has releasedand is developing E-paper products for numerous applications, such asE-books, smart cards, E-tags, and E-newspapers. Their goal is toprovide an electronic substitute for most paper applications, to helpreduce an estimated 880M tons of CO2 currently emitted annually frompaper production.
Car: In addition to providing display devices tomake driving more pleasant (GPS, digital control panels, andentertainment), AUO also plans to make photovoltaic panels to integrateinto cars, to reduce the need for fossil fuel consumption.
TFT Display: While it is clear that AUO’s toppriority in displays is improving the visual experience (moving viewersfrom small boxy CRTs to large, high-performance, flat panel displays)their development also is shifting to greener TV technologies.Addressing the issue of dramatically increased total areas of TVs, andtherefore increasing power consumption, by implementing newertechnologies such as LED backlights and OLED TVs the energy usage perarea of future TVs can be reduced. Display consumers will be able tohave their cake and eat it too.
The Green SELECT program is indeed a bold plan that has far-reaching implications, both for AUO’s business and planet Earth.