Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, inaugurated a water recycling plant in the Tainan section of the Southern Taiwan Science Park on Monday, the first such plant in the world dedicated to producing water for use in advanced semiconductor processes.
The facility is scheduled to produce 5,000 tons of industrial recycled water a day in October and the daily production is expected to grow to 20,000 tons next year, according to engineering services provider CTCI Co., a contractor involved in the construction of the plant.
In the science park, TSMC operates two 12-inch giga wafer plants that produce chips made on its advanced 5 nanometer process, which is the most recent technology the chipmaker currently uses for mass production, and 3nm process, which will begin commercial production later this year.
Arthur Chuang (莊子壽), vice president of the facility division at TSMC, said the water recycling plant took eight years to build and operate as the process to recycle industrial water into clean water for use in the company’s advanced processes was very complicated.
Inside TSMC, Chuang said, the company has already established a water recycling system that allows the chipmaker to use a drop of water 3.5 times.
TSMC is determined to explore and diversify its water sources in a bid to further raise water use efficiency in the future to facilitate a circular economy, he added.
According to Chuang, TSMC aims to have recycled water that accounts for 60 percent of its total water use by the end of 2030, which is expected to help reservoirs in Taiwan maintain high water levels and tackle the impact of extreme weather conditions.
The semiconductor industry is one of the largest water users in the manufacturing sector.
John T. Yu (余俊彥), chairman of CTCI, told reporters that the water recycling plant is expected to process used household water in Tainan’s Yongkang and Anping districts in the future with an aim to produce 67,000 tons of recycled water a day in the future.
In addition, Yu said the plant also had set its sights on processing heat produced by incinerators nearby and transforming it into clean water to produce an additional 36,000 tons of recycled water every day.
Meanwhile, TSMC reiterated on Monday its wafer fab project in Kaohsiung was proceeding as scheduled with the construction of a wafer fab to start later this year, adding it had started land grading work as part of preparations for the construction of the new fab.
The comments from TSMC came in response to market speculation about whether the Kaohsiung plant would break ground later this year as the company had not received a construction permit yet.
The Kaohsiung City Government said it would provide the necessary assistance to TSMC for the wafer plant project, which will be located in the city’s Nanzih industrial park as part of the city’s semiconductor cluster.
The construction site used to accommodate a naphtha cracking plant owned by state-owned oil supplier CPC Corp., Taiwan.
TSMC’s wafer plant in Kaohsiung is scheduled to start mass production in 2024 by using the company’s advanced 7nm process and mature 28nm process.
While TSMC has not disclosed any financial details regarding the new facility, analysts said it could cost between NT$200 billion (US$6.38 billion) and NT$300 billion.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel