Is POU Water Recovery And Reuse Practical In Microelectronics Fabs?
By Azita Yazdani
In the semiconductor industry, large volumes of high-purity water are used for cleaning and etching wafers. Wafer rinsing, in particular, is responsible for the largest consumption of water at the microchip fab.
A typical 300-millimeter (mm) wafer fab that processes approximately 40,000 wafers per month uses between 2 million to 3 million gallons (gal) of water per day. About 50% of this water is used to produce ultra-high-purity water, which is part of the wafer-cleaning process. Approximately 10% to 20% of the water is used for other, non-UPW processes, such as cooling towers and heat exchangers. And, <5% is used for non-process-related parts of the fab, such as landscape irrigation, bathrooms, and emergency sprinkler systems. Typically, all or the majority of the high-purity water produced is only used once before being waste treated in the acid waste neutralization (AWN) systems, and then discharged.
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