TSMC will improve production by recycling wastewater

TSMC will improve production by recycling wastewater

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. already owns some of the most sophisticated semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the world, using the latest equipment to build advanced chips using state-of-the-art process technologies. According to an article published by Nikkei, by the end of the year the company will also have a very modern wastewater treatment plant that will allow the company to use industrial wastewater to improve production.

Per To ensure a more efficient water supply, TSMC is building the world's first industrial wastewater treatment center that could "finally meet nearly half of its daily water requirement for chip production," Nikkei reports. The plant will be located near the city of Tainan and will start operating by the end of 2021.

In 2019, all TSMC facilities consumed 64.3 million tons of water (176.16 tons per day) and 90.1 million tons of ultra-pure water (246.85 thousand tons per day), according to the 2019 Social Responsibility Report. The company recycled 86.7% of the water used, saving 133, 6 million tons of water (366.03 thousand tons per day) in 2019.

The production of components requires different types of water: some steps require ultra pure water, others clean water. It is unclear from the report whether the plant can produce ultra-pure water from industrial wastewater, but the numbers TSMC talks about could imply both types. "It will gradually increase industrial wastewater treatment capacity and by 2024 will be able to generate 67,000 tons of water per day that will be used for the chi p production process," said Lora Ho, senior vice president of Europe & Asia sales and president of TSMC's corporate social responsibility commitee.

The ongoing drought in Taiwan has already caused authorities to start rationing water supplies to the population and diverting water supplies from farmers to producers of chips, while TSMC and UMC had to start purchasing truck-mounted water to reduce regional water consumption. TSMC already reuses more than 3/4 of the water it consumes, but this is not enough to reduce the foundry's reliance on water supply and for this reason the company is building an advanced wastewater treatment plant.
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