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Treatment Of Silicon Grinder Wastewater For Water Reuse

By By Ray Groves, Ph.D., Hans-Jurgen Voss, Michael Ong and Bob McIntosh


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Editor’s note: Welcome to a technical article from our archives of more than 2,100 technical and water business articles published since 1984. This article by Ray Groves, PhD, Hans-Jurgen Voss, Michael Ong, and Bob McIntosh appeared in our August 2010 issue of Ultrapure Water Journal. This article examines water treatment issues faced by a segment that is part of overall microelectronics industry—solar power. While semiconductor manufacturing is a key industry, in the bigger picture microelectronics involves far more as flat panel display and solar are other related parts of the bigger business. The authors look at the treatment of silicon wastewater for reuse.


The treatment of fine particulate solid wastes produced by silicon manufacturing is a complex challenge. The “standard” treatment using flocculation and settling has many problems, including foaming, poor settling, gas evolution, and upsets that poor quality treated water. Various other technologies have been tested, including centrifugation and membrane treatment, but in general they have not been successful.

Solarworld’s plant in Hillsboro, OR, is undergoing a rapid expansion and needs new wastewater treatment capacity. Additionally, they need to conserve and save water because of tight discharge volume limits.  Candidates for process water reuse were sought and the grinding waste was ranked first because no chemicals are used in processing, and it is one of the largest flows.

The project was structured as a collaborative effort between a project engineering/system integrator company (Enviroguard), the overall general contractor (Caverion NA), and the facility (SolarWorld).  


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