Samsung turns to wastewater to meet growing water demands from semiconductor market

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Engineer showing a computer microchip on motherboard background. Electronic circuit board with processor.
The global semiconductor industry is poised for a decade of growth and is projected to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030. Photo Credit: uflypro, stock.adobe.com

With the amount of water required by Samsung Semiconductor expected to more than double by 2030, the South Korean multinational manufacturing conglomerate has formed agreements to purify and use some 400 million litres of wastewater daily to manufacture its microchips.

To ensure maximum availability of industrial water without depleting natural water sources, Samsung has already formed wastewater use agreements with the South Korean Ministry of Environment, Gyeonggi Province, five city bodies, the Korea Water Resources Corporation, and the Korea Environment Corporation. 

“To utilize sewage reused water for industrial purposes as previously described, membrane technology is necessary,” the company announced in a statement. “Membrane technology is one of the advanced filtration technologies used for purifying water. Membranes contain extremely tiny pores, allowing molecules smaller than water to pass through while filtering out larger substances such as minerals, microbes, and various impurities.”

Samsung
Graphic: Samsung Semiconductor

Samsung adds that even “minuscule impurities” such as fine particles and microorganisms can impact microchip production and quality, so it requires “highly purified ultra-pure water” that is only hydrogen and oxygen molecules.  

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“It’s so crucial that ultra-pure water is often referred to as the ‘lifeblood’ of semiconductors,” Samsung stated.

The global semiconductor industry is poised for a decade of growth and is projected to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030. Market insights firm, McKinsey & Company, estimates that the market could grow by as much as 8% each year. About 70% of growth in the segment is predicted to be driven by just three industries: automotive, computation and data storage, and wireless.

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