Semiconductor fabs use significantly less energy today, but work remains


Semiconductor manufacturing facilities dramatically decreased their normalized fab energy consumption from 1997 to 2011, shows The International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) Worldwide Fab Energy Study. Sanjay Rajguru, director of ISMI called energy-efficiency and conservation "critical" for semiconductor manufacturers.

Compiling data from 300mm and 200mm semiconductor fabs in Asia, North America, and Europe, the study's benchmark data helps identify areas to reduce energy use and improve efficiency in semiconductor manufacturing operations.

Process equipment consumes more than 50% of energy in a fab, found ISMI's Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) Center researchers. Energy consumption here halved in the study time period. Non-process-equipment energy consumption has dropped to one-fourth of 1997 values. The next highest energy users were central chiller plants and bulk gas production. Waste heat recovery and reuse practices were benchmarked for best-in-class performance.

To explore bulk-gas production energy efficiency, ISMI initiated a workshop in collaboration with experts at member companies. The participants benchmarked best-in-class metrics and reviewed best-in-class design practices for nitrogen plants, specifically focusing on air compressors, which consume up to 85% of the bulk gas energy budget.

Based on the energy survey results, ISMI will focus on efficiency at the nitrogen system, controlled dry air (CDA) system, process cooling water system, and process vacuum system. ISMI is also working to reduce water and chemical usage.

SEMATECH is an international consortium of leading semiconductor device, equipment, and materials manufacturers.???M.C

Solid State Technology, Volume 55, Issue 6, July 2012

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