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Semiconductor Manufacturing: P2 Opportunities
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons to Change
P2 Opportunities
Where To Go for P2 Help
Complete List of Links

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Breakthrough Design Team - With a Little Help from RMI, Texas Instruments Breaks New Ground
Steps Texas Instruments has taken to design energy and water efficiency into a new semiconductor man...

California Semiconductor Industry - Hazardous Waste Source Reduction Assessment Report
A legislative program in California requires an environmental review of various industries. This re...

Efficient Water Use for Texas: Policies, Tools, and Management Strategies
Disccusses why and how semiconductor fabrication plants are in an ideal position to enact sequential...

ISMI Study Finds Significant Cost Savings Potential in Fab Energy Reduction
Study results showing great Potential cost and energy savings via modest upgrades of equipment at fa...

LSI Logic - Green Permit Annual Report
Strategies used by LSI Logic to reduce chemical use and waste in semiconductor manufacturing.

Measuring and Managing Energy Use in Cleanrooms
Comprehensive set of design guidelines for improving energy efficiency at fabs, in tools and equipme...

Reducing Water Consumption in Semiconductor Fabs
Article based on a paper presented in 2002 showing numerous implementations at Fairchild Semiconduct...

SB14 Update and Semiconductor Industry SB14 Findings
Presentation listing numerous water, chemical, and other environmental improvements by California se...

Sustainable Growth Through Emphasis on ESH Improvements
Makes the case for sustainable production in semiconductor manufacturing industry, especially in en...

The semiconductor industry is characterized by innovation and rapid product and process evolution compared to other industries. As with other industries, however, there continue to be prospects for reducing pollution and inefficiencies. Opportunities exist for reducing energy, water, and materials, as well as the wastes, effluents, and emissions generated.

  1. Some opportunities listed below may already be the norm for some fabs.
  2. Suggestions may require experimentation prior to implementation, to ensure wafer quality is maintained.
  3. Opportunities for fabs may differ depending on whether the fab is being built from the ground up, or an existing fab is being retrofitted.

Energy Efficiency

Cost savings in energy and electricity generation and purchase is not the only reason to design and implement energy efficiency. Generally, energy conservation and efficiency results in a more reliable facility due to less wear on filters, pumps, and motors, reduced maintenance and operating costs, and reduced greenhouse gas generation. Additionally, an energy-efficient facility has lower pressures and slower airflow, which improves filtration efficiency for these systems. The end result is reduced particle contamination on the semiconductor, generating improved product yields and product quality.

According to a 2005 study by the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI), the global semiconductor industry could save nearly $500 million per year in energy costs, or enough electricity to power a small city, by making only modest improvements to its tools and facility support systems [1].

The amount of energy and fixed consumables used in the fab is related to the number of mask layers. In turn, the number of mask layers reflects process complexity [2]. The continued increase in functional complexity achieved with each semiconductor generation has been accompanied by steady decreases in the size of the die itself. This reduction in die size allows for improved resource efficiency because not only are more die capable of being produced on each wafer, but also less energy is required by the integrated circuit during its useful life.

The 2005 article in HPAC Engineering titled, Measuring and Managing Energy Use in Cleanrooms presents additional suggestions [3] details many aspects of efficient energy design for fabs, some of which are listed below, along along with suggestions from several other citations.

Note: Although beyond the scope of this document, a few ideas for reducing energy in silicon production are listed at the Energy Efficient Cleanroom Information Site.

Water Use & Efficiency

The largest water conservation opportunities for fabs are reduction and reuse of UPW and DI water. About 1,500 gallons of city water is needed to produce 1,000 gallons of UPW or DI water, according to a 2002 abstract by Klusewitz & Viegh.

The industry is taking steps to significantly lower the use of UPW through equipment and process optimization. One example is the replacement of wet stations by Automated Wet Benches (AWB) for many wet etching processing steps. The two main differences between these systems involve container sizes and wafer drying methods. As a result, the AWB can use smaller tanks, less chemicals and smaller exhaust systems. These redesigned wetbenches with the reduced-volume rinse tanks have resulted in water use reductions of approximately 40 percent [5]. Another opportunity is to convert wet processes to dry processes.

Additional conservation prospects involve reductions in facility water use, and make-up water for equipment such as water towers and chillers. Projections indicate that 30-50% of fab water can be reused [5]. Other specific suggestions follow:

Solvents, Chemicals and Gases: Use and Wastes

Other Fab & Facility Processes

Solid Waste & Recycling

Fab Decommissioning and Decontamination

Consider hiring a qualified and experienced consultant or contractor to-

The Future ....

What new techniques and technologies are required to enable the next wave of roadmap technology advances and environmental improvements?

The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) is an assessment of semiconductor technology requirements. The objective of the ITRS is to ensure advancements in the performance of integrated circuits. This assessment, called roadmapping, is a cooperative effort of the global industry manufacturers and suppliers, government organizations, consortia, and universities. In their roadmap, they report a list of challenges and needs for the industry, including environmental, health, and safety needs.

The Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (ERC) is a multi-university research center leading the way to environmentally friendly semiconductor manufacturing.

The Semiconductor Industry Association's (SIA) Environment Committee is focusing on chemical issues with global significance. Several initiatives SIA is supporting - on behalf of the US semiconductor industry - include:

These groups, along with SEMATECH and various manufacturers, look toward the future working on new ways to improve efficiency and reduce wastes. For example, semiconductor processing in supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO2) shows considerable promise for photoresist cleaning applications below 65 nm. And, Intel is exploring use of compound semiconductors with some materials (e.g., indium antimony), giving vastly better performance than silicon and reducing voltage.

[1] International SEMATECH (ISMI). 2005. Sematech News. ISMI Study Finds Significant Cost Savings Potential in Fab Energy Reduction.
[2] Taiariol, F., Fea, P., Papuzza, C., Casalino, R., Galbiati, E., Zappa, S. Life cycle assessment of an integrated circuit product. In: Proceedings of the 2001 IEEE International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment, 2001. p 128-133.
[3] Mills, E. Ph.D., Tschudi,W. PE, Rumsey,P. PE, and Xu, T. Ph.D / PE. December 2005. Measuring and Managing Energy Use in Cleanrooms. HPAC Engineering.
[4] English, L., , Mallela, R. Miller, C. and Worth, W. 2002. Sustainable Growth Through Emphasis on ESH Improvements. Future Fab International. Volume 12.
[5] Tritapoe, M.G., Chiarello, R. 1998. Water Conservation Through the Use of Process Rinse Optimization in Semiconductor Manufacturing. Semiconductor Fabtech, 8th edition, July 1998, p 239-243.
[6] Martyak , J. (Jacobs Engineering). 1999. Designing Practical DI Water Recycling Systems for Use in Semiconductor Fabs.
[7] Chiarello, R. Ph.D., (Stanford University). 2000. Rinse Optimization for Reduction of Point-of-Use Ultrapure Water Consumption in High Technology Manufacturing.
[8] Gerston, J. MacLeod, M., and Jones, A. 2002. Efficient Water Use for Texas: Policies, Tools and Management Strategies.
[9] Briones, R. 2002. [Presentation]. SB14 Update and Semiconductor Industry SB14 Findings.
[10] Klusewitz, G., McVeigh, J. (Fairchild Semiconductor) 2002. Reducing Water Consumption in Semiconductor Fabs. (Article based on a paper presented at the 13th annual IEEE/SEMI Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference in 2002).
[11] LSI Logic Corporation. 2003. Green Permit Annual Report.
[12] Bloomberg News, Reuters, Associated PRess. 2007. IBM to Recycle Chips for Solar Panels.


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Hub Last Updated: 3/11/2013