TSMC to teach water recycling
11/11/2011 2:38 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO--Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer TSMC is doing its bit for corporate responsibility this week by hosting Industrial Water Conservation classes for the local business community at its Hsinchu headquarters.
The firm said it hopes to offer government agencies and companies from a range of industries the benefit of its “years of knowledge and experience” in water conservation practices.
Semiconductor manufacturers use millions of gallons of water a day, and indeed water is considered something of the lifeblood of a fab, used in over 35 stages of the chip production process, especially important in rinsing and cleaning semiconductor wafers.
According to research from the University of Arizona, one chip manufacturing plant can use anywhere between 2 million and 4 million gallons of ultrapure water per day, which, on average, is roughly equivalent to the water usage of a city of maybe 40,000 to 50,000 people.
It takes around 1,500 gallons of city water to produce 1,000 gallons of ultrapure water and over 2,000 gallons of ultrapure water can be used in the production of one 200-mm wafer.
Recycling that water, therefore, becomes especially important.
TSMC said it will host both free classroom discussions and on-site tours, at its facilities in Taichung and Tainan later in November.
Thus far, around 240 people have enrolled in the classes, from decision-makers and technical staff working in the area of factory wastewater management, to others from both large and small firms from a variety of industries.
"TSMC has always been dedicated to social participation and fulfilling its corporate social responsibility by acting as a positive force in the areas of morals, business ethics, economy, the rule of law, and environmental protection," said TSMC Spokesperson and Senior Vice President Ms. Lora Ho.
Ho said the water conservation classes were a good start in finding more innovative and mutually beneficial ways to improve the industry’s sustainability.
The firm purportedly has over 100 engineers working on wastewater recycling and treatment and claims to have achieved a water recycling rate of 83 percent since 2008, reaching as high as 90 percent at some of its facilities.
TSMC’s recycled wastewater is apparently separated and purified, with 70 to 80 percent reused in the manufacturing process.
The Taiwanese fab company says its water conservation measures also reduced its costs by some NT$400 ($13.255 million U.S.) last year.