GF Earth Week 2024: Protecting our Planet Together

GF resource conservation projects reduce the company’s environmental impact

By John Compani
Senior Member of the Technical Staff for Corporate Environmental, Health, and Safety and Sustainability, GlobalFoundries

This week GlobalFoundries (GF) is celebrating our second annual Earth Week, in honor of Earth Day and our collective responsibility of being a good steward of our planet and its resources. Our theme for Earth Week is: “ONEGF, One Planet, Protect it Together.”

As Dr. Thomas Caulfield, president and CEO of GF, said earlier this week when announcing our new goals of achieving net zero emissions and carbon-neutral power by 2050:

“Climate change is a universal concern for every nation, company and person on this planet, and there are no do-overs when it comes to global warming. It is incumbent upon all of us to take meaningful action to fight against this risk.”

GF has a longstanding commitment and proven track record of sustainable operations and minimizing our impact on the environment. Below are examples of GF’s commitment in action, across the key areas of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and electricity consumption. Watch for an article later this week on other key resource conservation efforts in the areas of water use, hazardous waste management and chemical usage.

GF’s manufacturing facility in Dresden, Germany

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Earlier this week, GF doubled down on its commitment to sustainability by announcing exciting new goals of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 100% carbon-neutral power by 2050. This work builds upon GF’s Journey to Zero Carbon pledge to reduce our GHG emissions by 25% from 2020 to 2030.

We are on track to meet this 25% reduction goal by 2030, thanks to strong leadership and our innovative global team applying a variety of approaches and investments tailored to GF’s unique global manufacturing footprint. Our efforts are paying off, with GF emitting 27% less GHG per wafer1 in 2023 than it did in 2020. The combined reoccurring annual benefits of projects completed in 2023 alone resulted in approximately 125,000 MTCO2e of GHG reductions, that’s roughly equivalent to the emissions from driving a car around the earth 1,500 times2!

Below are a few examples of the many exciting projects GF’s team completed in 2023 to help reduce our GHG emissions:

  • In Vermont, the installation of point-of-use abatement devices on specific tools resulted in annual GHG emission reductions of 2,800 MTCO2e, and the qualification and use of alternative heat transfer fluids in some etch tools will reduce annual GHG emissions by 6,600 MTCO2e and provide approximately $60,000 per year in material savings.
  • In New York, the qualification and use of alternative heat transfer fluids in a group of chemical vapor deposition equipment will result in approximately $185,000 in material savings and the elimination of 35,000 MTCO2e in greenhouse gas emissions per year.
  • In Singapore, a multi-year project continued to upgrade specific tools with a more efficient chamber-cleaning process resulting in a GHG emission reduction of 78,000 MTCO2e per year.

Additionally, earlier this year GF and Keppel announced a multi-year power purchase agreement to provide electricity at GF’s Singapore site. By using power from Keppel’s new advanced power plant scheduled for completion in 2026, it is expected that GF will be able to reduce emissions from its Singapore site by more than 10% – or up to 70,000 tons of CO2 emissions – per year. Click here to read more.

Inside GF’s Singapore manufacturing facility

Electricity Use

Semiconductor manufacturing is an energy-intensive process. Not only do electricity conservation projects save money, but they can also reduce the GHG emissions generated as a byproduct of producing that electricity.

In 2023, GF’s sustainability and efficiency efforts produced an annual savings of more than 23.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity – enough to power approximately 2,200 U.S. households for a year3. This resulted in significant savings in operational costs as well as a reduction in indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchased electricity.

With the completion of power-saving projects in 2023, GF on average used 19% less electricity to produce a wafer1 than it did in 2020. Examples of these projects include:

  • In Dresden, Germany, two additional heat exchangers were put into operation to support process chilled water systems, resulting in a savings of approximately 170,000 kWh per year and nearly 2,400,000 kWh per year in LED lighting upgrades were made to the facility.
  • In Singapore, strategically removed heat tracing on a group of etch tools resulting in energy savings of 733,000 kWh per year.
  • In New York, nearly 800,000 kWh in LED lighting upgrades were completed in the cleanroom, and new improvements to temperature controls for areas of the subfab and cleanroom resulted in over 554,000 kWh per year of electricity savings.

Also, earlier this year, GF supply partner Air Liquide announced an investment of over 50 million euros to build a new plant in Singapore and revamp its existing facilities in Malta, New York, to supply high purity nitrogen to GF. These Air Liquide projects are expected to enable GF to benefit from higher energy efficiencies. Read more about it here.

John Compani is a Senior Member of the Technical Staff with GF’s Corporate EHS & Sustainability Team. He is based in Malta, New York, with focus on GF’s Environmental Performance, Resource Conservation and Sustainability efforts.

1 “per wafer” is an approximation; the technical measurement is “per production output” which takes into consideration the size of semiconductor wafers (200mm or 300mm) and complexity of the product (number of mask layers) when calculating GHG emissions or electricity use per wafer.

2 GHG Protocol Average gasoline car emission factor 2 kg CO2e/vehicle-km [link]

3 Using the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s estimate that the average U.S. household consumes about 10,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. [link]