Even with light rain in Taiwan and a typhoon nearby, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has announced plans to build a new facility to help it in times of water scarcity. Despite recent rains on the island, Taiwan still faces a historic drought, reducing its reservoir levels to dangerously low levels. To help you manage similar crises in the future, TSMC’s senior vice president of sales for Europe and Asia, Ms. Lora Ho, revealed details of the installation in a video conference, according to a report by The Nikkei Asian Review.
TSMC says the wastewater treatment plant will be the first of its kind in the world
Although TSMC’s decision to build the facility comes as the company deals with the ongoing drought in Taiwan, it is unlikely to help the company deal with the current shortage. Ms. Ho believes that the plant will be fully operational by 2024 and will start limited operations later this year.
Crucially, the plant will be for the exclusive use of TSMC and its configuration will undoubtedly help the company to improve its management of corporate water-related risks. To deal with the current crisis, the company turned to water trucks to help meet some of its needs. These tanks were also used to test groundwater for chip making, a process that requires abundant use of water due to the high standards of purity and the numerous chemicals involved in the process, each of which must be washed before a silicon wafer can pass the manufacturing stage.
Sharing details for the production of the plant, the executive pointed out that:
“It will gradually ramp up the treatment capacity of industrial wastewater and by 2024 will be able to generate 67,000 tons of water daily that can go back into to the chipmaking process.”
Based on the factory’s daily water use in 2019 (the last time it shared data via a sustainability report), this output should allow TSMC to meet slightly less than half of its needs. The cleaning water for the chip manufacturing process has high standards of purity, and TSMC must incorporate them into its new plant if it is to mitigate its dependence on external sources of water for manufacturing.
Your water requirement will increase in the next year as capacity expands. TSMC is currently building an advanced manufacturing plant in Taiwan’s Tainan sector, through which the factory will manufacture cutting-edge semiconductors. By using the 3 nm chip node, TSMC will enter mass production at this facility next year. At the same time, the company also hopes to expand its production to mature process nodes, such as 28 nm technology, which has also seen increasing demand recently.
In addition to facing water scarcity, the factory is battling the global shortage of automotive chips and rising demand for consumer electronics. Both combined increased TSMC’s production capacity, as it accounts for most of the global demand for chips – especially for advanced process nodes such as 7nm and 5nm. In addition to TSMC, only Samsung Electronics’ chip arm, Samsung Foundry, can manufacture chips using these processes.
Industry analysts also fear whether the high demand for chips today will lead to a stock correction next year, as companies are unable to clear their inventories. TSMC and American chip giant Intel Corporation believe that, while it is impossible to rule out such a correction, it is unlikely to occur at least until the second half of next year.