One of the largest manufactures of capital equipment for the semiconductor fab manufacturing segment is Applied Materials. At SEMICON West, the company’s president and CEO Gary Dickerson announced ambitious targets to improve the environmental impact of its operations, including a commitment to 100 percent renewable energy sourcing worldwide by 2030. For its extensive U.S. operations, Dickerson pledged that the switch to renewable energies would be completed much faster, by 2022, including a plan to purchase a significant fraction of the energy coming from the White Mesa Wind project in Texas, as covered by Semiconductor Digest.
Dickerson included several other speakers in his keynote. One of those was a 90 second tutorial on semiconductor sustainability, delivered by Dr. Sarah Boyd, a senior consultant at SPHERA.
“There are more than 1,000 semiconductor fabs operating globally today,” explained Boyd. “Together, these factories produce $450B worth of chips per year and about 50 metric tons of CO2. In semiconductor manufacturing, our carbon footprint is made up of:
- Scope One: Fab direct emissions to the air.
- Scope Two: Electrical energy use.
- Scope Three: Energy related to the consumption of process chemicals and consumables produced by suppliers up stream.”
“Considering all of these aspects and with direct emission properly abated, by far the largest component of a fabs carbon footprint is Scope two, electrical power. Let’s consider an advanced fab with a capacity of 50k wafer starts per month (WSPM). That fab is consuming roughly a 1 terawatt hour per year (TWh/yr), close to a city of 100k residents like Santa Clara, CA, for example. When we break that power usage down, about half is directly consumed by the tools themselves and the rest is used to run the tool support systems, facilities and clean rooms. And that is the industries sustainable challenges in a nutshell,” she concluded.