Advanced Water Treatment Technologies Services (AWTS) Inc.

Water Reuse - The award winning Reclaim System at Philips Semiconductor`s San Antonio Wafer Fab.


The semiconductor industry is trying to reduce the environmental foot print of our factories. As has been documented elsewhere (1, 2), today's factories can consume as much water as a large town with a population in the tens of thousands. As the economy of scale drives the size of factories, increasing water consumption will be a huge stumbling block to locating a factory in many communities.

The International Technology Road-map for Semiconductors (ITRS) (2), Sematech. and individual corporations have set targets for water consumption by factories (fabsin the industry jargon). The effort to reduce water consumption must meet economic and quality metrics that are quite stringent. I n essence. a water reclaim/recycle system must save money and improve, or atleast not hurt, the quality of high-purity water provided to the fab. Also, water reclaim/ recycle projects are more economically attractive if they supply a need for new water purification capacity rather than replacing an existing system. So. the project to build the reclaim system will probably take place at the same time as a larger construction project with the constraints on time and resources that come with a major construction job.

A system to significantly reduce water consumption and increase high-purity water capacity at the Philips Semiconductors San Antonio Wafer Fab was designed, in-stalled,andcommissionedin2000-2001. The system won several awards, including the Pioneer Recycling Award from the San Antonio Water System, and the Conservation/Reuse Award from the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. In addition to these awards, the San Antonio Water System rebated a part of the capital cost of the system in accordance with the 'Large Scale Users Industrial Retrofit Program'. The potential rebate could reach more than $1 million, based on demonstrated water savings over the next six years.

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