In an era of seemingly endless chip shortages, more and more variations of semiconductors are in demand. Chip factories worldwide are currently struggling to meet the needs of many of the world’s microelectronics. Also, a chip factory needs a lot of water to function. Promoting water recycling at fabs up to 98 percent keeping chip production on target.
By some estimates, a large chip factory could use up to 10 million gallons of water per day. This is equivalent to the water consumption of approximately 300,000 households.
Semiconductor companies have long understood that access to water is a critical part of their business, and this awareness has grown over the past decade. In 2015, a drought in Taiwan (which has 11 of the world’s 14 largest factories) prompted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to open its factories to inspections and take steps to conserve water. Proven. Also in 2015, Intel said it had reduced its water usage by more than 40% from its 2010 levels in response to dry conditions at its facility sites.
Since then, water recycling in semiconductor factories has continued to increase, according to Prakash Govindan, chief operating officer of Gladiator, a company that provides end-to-end water recycling technology to various industries, including semiconductors.
“Traditional wastewater treatment in semiconductor factories recycles 40 to 70 percent of the water used in the process.” “Some factories only recover 40 percent of the water used.”
But over the past two years, Gradiant has worked with semiconductor factories to improve water reuse, enabling them to recycle 98% of the water they use. So instead of bringing in 10 million gallons of fresh water from outside the facility each day. These new recycling technologies mean he can only source 200,000 gallons of water from outside the facility to operate.
The technology developed by Gradiant is based on countercurrent reverse osmosis (CFRO), an adaptation of established reverse osmosis technology. Reverse flow allows this technology to recover water too much higher levels than is possible with existing reverse osmosis technology.
While reverse osmosis technology generally relies on high pressures that require large amounts of energy. Gradient has developed a thermodynamic balance technology that minimizes the driving force across the filter membrane. Thereby increasing the water to be treated reduces energy consumption by a given amount.
The water shortage problem in Taiwan’s factories has been exacerbated over the past year by renewed drought conditions. This has made Taiwan’s factories adopt the latest water recycling technology earlier than factories in other geographical locations to avoid production interruptions.
“There are three reasons for adopting more effective water recycling technologies. “The first is the disturbance of business continuity. This is the situation faced by the Taiwanese factory, which has begun to face arid localized climatic conditions.
The second is sustainability concerns, Which drive factories in places like Singapore, and the third is cost reduction, which is currently the number one concern for factories in the United States.”
Business continuity disruption is clearly the most pressing factor, but sustainability and cost savings will also ultimately lead to business continuity issues. Check website for more info.