Veolia offers solutions to meet semiconductor industry's needs for sustainability

Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: Veolia

As many countries are building up their semiconductor supply chains, Veolia Water Technologies, a global leader specializing in water treatment technologies and services, is seeing opportunities in the industry's need for water and energy efficiency while required to meet individual companies' carbon-neutral targets.

Behind every microchip lies a complex manufacturing process, heavily reliant on Ultra-Pure Water (UPW) and stringent environmental controls. Water, waste, and energy management demands of semiconductor production, call for specialized expertise tailored for fabs in different geographies and climate conditions. What are Veolia's solutions for the highly complex semiconductor supply chain?

Justin Wang, Country Director for Taiwan at Veolia Water Technologies, shared with DIGITIMES Asia its expertise and experiences supporting Taiwan's semiconductor industry with innovative technologies in water reclamation and reuse to bolster the sustainability initiatives of semiconductor companies.

Recently Veolia just released its 2024-2027 Strategy Program, aiming to have 18 million tons of CO2 erased in 2027 (scope 4) & an emission reduction trajectory compatible with 1.5°C warming (scope 1&2),1.5 billion cubic meters of water saved by 2027, and 10 million tons of hazardous waste and pollutants treated in 2027.

Q: What specific expertise does Veolia have that is relevant to the semiconductor industry?

Veolia brings specialized expertise to meet the semiconductor industry's stringent water treatment needs. Leveraging our understanding of semiconductor requirements, we design systems to prevent production downtime, mitigating costly interruptions for manufacturers.

With a focus on advanced water treatment technologies and regulatory compliance, we tailor Ultra-Pure Water (UPW) systems to align with the chipmakers' requirements to push the boundaries into single-digit nanometer line widths, maximum resistivity, and control contaminants (e.g. particles, Total Organic Carbon [TOC], silicon dioxide, and boron) at parts per trillion levels.

Our solutions also prioritize water reclamation, adhering to the Water Efficiency Index (WEI) requirement, minimizing water usage by recycling wastewater, and ensuring compliance with discharge regulations, including the potential achievement of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) goals.

Q: Can you provide an overview of Veolia Water Technologies' experience working with industries similar to the semiconductor sector?

Veolia Water Technologies brings a wealth of experience to diverse industries across the globe, including electronics manufacturing, chemical processing, oil and gas, hydrocarbon processing, and power industries. Our proven solutions facilitate seamless operations, efficient water management, and climate-change resilience. Moreover, we excel in municipal water treatment, ensuring safe water and resilient infrastructure for healthy communities, and pioneering efforts in water reuse and reclamation to bolster sustainability initiatives.

Q: How does Veolia incorporate sustainability and environmental considerations into its solutions for the semiconductor industry? Could you give some examples?

In Southeast Asia, we optimized a plant's configuration, through enhancements like our unique Rapide Strata Reverse Osmosis (RSRO) system and other energy-efficient components, to achieve the same amount of permeate using approximately 27% less raw water.

Additionally, our innovative approach to organic wastewater treatment, utilizing Macro Porous Polymer Extraction (MPPE), meets regulatory standards and facilitates water reclamation and valuable solvent recovery. We also address specific regulatory requirements such as Taiwan's mandate for microelectronic manufacturers to reclaim 85% of process water, by exceeding standards with advanced reclamation technologies.

This commitment enables high levels of water recycling while ensuring compliance and minimizing environmental impact, aligning with Veolia's mission of resource preservation based on 170 years of experience.

Q: How does Veolia approach waste/wastewater management in semiconductor manufacturing, including the handling of hazardous materials?

Our comprehensive approach to waste and wastewater treatment in semiconductor manufacturing emphasizes workplace safety, environmental compliance, and the reduction of hazardous materials. Through our stringent safety protocols and expert training, we ensure the safe handling of dangerous substances like water treatment chemicals or recovered solvents, further enhancing workplace safety for our customers.

Q: What innovative technologies does Veolia employ in its solutions for the semiconductor industry?

Veolia employs innovative technologies tailored to the semiconductor industry's unique challenges. One such technology is MPPE, introduced to treat low-concentration IPA wastewater in wafer plants.

Unlike conventional distillation methods, MPPE involves adsorbing IPA molecules to separate them from other chemicals, releasing them exclusively and in higher concentrations during regeneration. This groundbreaking approach not only ensures efficient purification of IPA wastewater but also significantly reduces energy consumption, often by as much as 1/10.

Additionally, Veolia actively partners with the semiconductor industry in sustainability initiatives, exemplified by our collaboration with a semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan to implement the MPPE technology. This solution enables the recovery of valuable IPA solvent for use as a feedstock in the manufacturing process and facilitates efficient wastewater reclamation. By recovering resources such as IPA for reuse, we exemplify our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, contributing to the circular economy and minimizing waste in the semiconductor industry.

Q: How does Veolia ensure cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency in its solutions for the semiconductor industry?

Veolia ensures cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency in its solutions for the semiconductor industry through a combination of process optimization and advanced technologies. For example, processes can be optimized by implementing better resource recovery techniques and reducing energy consumption.

The integration of advanced technologies further minimizes water and energy waste, resulting in increased productivity for semiconductor manufacturers. Through these approaches, Veolia delivers solutions that not only meet the industry's stringent requirements but also drive sustainable growth and profitability.

Justin Wang, Taiwan country manager. Credit: Veolia

Justin Wang, Taiwan country manager. Credit: Veolia