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Semiconductor Plants Show Dramatic Energy Reduction, Says Report

Semiconductor manufacturing plants dramatically reduced their average energy use from 1997 to 2011 according to research by the International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative.

In Worldwide Fab Energy Study, researchers from ISMI’s Environment, Safety and Health Center evaluated the annual energy use of each participating fabrication plant, or fab. They found that energy consumed by process equipment, which according to the latest survey accounts for more than 50 percent of a facility’s energy usage, has improved its efficiencies by half by 2011 and non-process equipment energy consumption has become one-fourth of the 1997 values.

The study, which was conducted at 300 mm and 200 mm semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Asia, North America and Europe, found that the next highest energy consumers, after process equipment, were central chiller plants and bulk gas production. Waste heat recovery and reuse practices were benchmarked for best in class performance.

Energy reduction has been part of Environment, Safety and Health Center efforts since 1997, when the program published the industry’s first Worldwide Fab Energy Study.

Since then, ISMI technologists have worked on projects focused on resource conservation and manufacturing sustainability that collectively document energy and resource conservation solutions. These reports, available to members, include:

  • Enabling and using the “idle” mode in vacuum pumps
  • Optimizing exhaust flows on tools
  • Lowering cleanroom airflow through HEPA filters
  • Measuring key tools to optimize heat removal

Semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments released its latest corporate sustainability report May. The report found that TI’s normalized emissions jumped 23 percent year-on-year. The company also increased its energy use 8 percent and its water use by 21 percent from 2010 to 2011, the report says.

Rival Intel also released its CSR report in May. The chip giant pledged to reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent on a per-chip basis by 2020 compared to 2010 levels. The company also used the report to commit itself to a host of other goals covering its building practices, the efficiency of its computers, energy use, water use and waste.

The company also used the report to announce a 34 percent reduction in its total CO2 emissions in 2011 and a 39 percent year-on-year reduction in its emissions measured on a per-chip basis.

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