TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwan continues to battle severe drought, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is building a facility that can treat industrial wastewater to be reused for chip production.
According to Nikkei Asia, the plant is currently being built in Tainan and is expected to be up and running by the end of 2021. TSMC’s Tainan facilities currently produce their leading-edge 5-nanometer process chips and are also home to the company’s upcoming 3 nm process.
TSMC told Nikkei the plant would be the first advanced industrial wastewater treatment center of its kind and could eventually supply around half of the company’s daily water requirements for semiconductor production. Semiconductor manufacturing requires massive amounts of ultra-pure water, which is free of all ions, particles, chlorine, and silica.
According to the TSMC’s 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility report, the company uses around 156,000 tons of water a day. The wastewater treatment facility will eventually be able to produce 67,000 tons of water per day that can be used for chipmaking, according to Lora Ho, senior vice president of Europe and Asia sales for TSMC and chairperson of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.
Taiwan is currently in the middle of an extreme drought, which has severely affected the central and southern portions of the country where much of the nation’s tech companies operate. Several top chipmakers such as TSMC, United Microelectronics, and Winbond have all begun water contingency plans, which include having water delivered to facilities using water trucks and increasing usage of recycled water.