The Climate Paradox in Chip Manufacturing


Have you ever heard of the cheese paradox? Cheese has holes in it. The more cheese, the more holes. Less cheese means more holes. Therefore, more cheese equals less cheese.

Jokes aside, considering the environmental issues and the global shortage of chips, the semiconductor industry is experiencing something similar: as we make more chips, our carbon footprint grows. Conversely, manufacturing chips reduces our carbon footprint. 

This is because all new, eco-friendly equipment — electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines – does not work without semiconductors. The demand for that equipment is growing rapidly as well:

  • According to the Society of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more electric vehicles were registered in 2021 than in the previous five years combined. 
  • Solar energy is also becoming the world’s fastest-growing energy source.

Aside from the carbon footprint, chip manufacturing uses a lot of energy, consumes billions of gallons of water, and produces hazardous waste.

Today, when the global chip shortage is acute due to the pandemic and supply problems, the industry attracts more attention than ever before. Because of this, semiconductor manufacturing must be both fast and efficient, and also eco-friendly.

Is it possible to produce more while causing less harm to the environment?

Option 1: Use renewable energy sources.

  • TSMC

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), the world’s largest chipmaker that supplies Apple with chips, uses almost 5% of Taiwan’s electricity, according to Greenpeace. In 2022, consumption is projected to grow by 7.2%.

However, TSMC committed to zero emissions by 2050 in September 2021. Last year, TSMC signed a 20-year deal with Danish energy firm Ørsted to buy all of the offshore wind farm’s renewable energy.

  • Intel

Intel’s 700-acre campus in Ocotillo, Arizona, generated almost 15,000 tons of waste in the first three months of this year, about 60% of which was hazardous. It also used 927 million gallons of water, which is enough to fill 1,400 Olympic swimming pools.

Intel wants to change this. The company plans to move to 100% renewable energy and save 60 billion gallons of water by 2030. And in 2020, Intel has already increased its use of renewable energy from 71% to 82% and saved 7.1 billion gallons of water.

Option 2: Improve production efficiency.

  • Samsung

In 2020, Samsung’s chip factories became the second-largest carbon emitter in the semiconductor industry. They produced 12.9 million tons of CO2 equivalent.

That is changing. By the end of 2021, the company announced that five of its memory products achieved carbon reduction certification from the Carbon Trust, an independent organization that advises companies on carbon reduction.

How can we increase production efficiency?

  1. Regulate the temperature, humidity, and pressure of the air and water.
  2. Divide warehouses based on load levels.
  3. Foster innovation to reduce the emissions of polluting gases.
  4. Collect more data and use machine learning to disable tools when not in use.

ABC Assembly has over 20 years of experience in design and manufacturing. The advanced technology we offer will help you increase your efficiency and create new products. All while being environmentally friendly.

We work with:

  • Mydata My200SX-14 Inline
  • Mydata My100SX-14 Inline
  • Mydata My15e Inline x 2
  • Mydata My12e Inline
  • Mydata My500 Jet Printer x 3
  • Heller 1913 MKIII Nitrogen Reflow x 2
  • X-TEK 3D X-RAY
  • Teradyne 1525 X-Ray
  • Mirtec AOI system
  • Airvac Onyx 29 Rework
  • Aircav Onyx 32 Rework x 2
  • Airvac DRS 25 Rework
  • ERSA BGA Inspection System
  • Electrovert Econopak Gold Wave solder
  • Triton no clean cleaner
  • N2 Nitrogen generator
  • K&S ConnX Wire bonder x 2
  • K&S 8068 Ribbon bonder x 2
  • Plasma Cleaner
  • Vacuum batch ovens
  • Dage 4000 Sheer and Pull tester
  • Various FIFO/LIFO, inspection and other conveyors
  • Various inspection microscopes
  • Various TH insertion machines
  • Various soldering tools