Resource Conservation is Key to GF’s Sustainability Efforts

By Candice Callahan
Principal Member of the Technical Staff for Corporate Environmental, Health, and Safety and Sustainability, GlobalFoundries

Even as our second annual Earth Week celebration draws to a close, GlobalFoundries remains laser-focused on identifying and implementing new ways of reducing resource use and finding efficiencies in our day-to-day operations as we manufacture the essential semiconductors the world needs. For us, every day is Earth Day.

In this article, I would like to share how GF is making a difference in the key areas of water use, hazardous waste management and chemical usage.

Click here to read my colleague John Compani’s article that covered our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and electricity use. Also click here to read about GF’s new long-term goals to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% carbon-neutral power by 2050.

GF’s headquarters and manufacturing facility in Malta, New York

Water Use

Semiconductor manufacturing requires significant amounts of water, and GF has been making strategic investments that reduce consumption and promote the recycling and reuse of water at our facilities.

These programs are working. In 2023, 39% of GF’s total water use was covered by recycled and reused water. Last year our teams around the world implemented projects that are on track to help us achieve an annual savings of more than 341,000 m³ (90 million gallons) of water – about the water used by more than 800 average U.S. households in one year1.

At the end of the day, our normalized water use2 in 2023 represented a reduction of 19% from 2020. Below are a few examples of our successful projects:

  • In Singapore, a wastewater stream from a reverse osmosis system was redirected for reclamation and reuse in the facility cooling tower and main exhaust scrubber system, resulting in savings of 219,000 m3 (58 million gallons) of water per year. 
  • In New York, the process to flush and qualify ultrafilters with ultrapure water was modified to collect the resultant wastewater for reuse, resulting in approximately 26,000 m3 (6.8 million gallons) of water savings per year. 
  • In Vermont, upgrades and preventative maintenance updates on a group of chemical-mechanical planarization manufacturing tools resulted in 32,000 m3 (8.4 million gallons) of water savings per year. 
Inside GF’s manufacturing facility in Essex Junction, Vermont

Hazardous Waste Management and Chemical Usage

GF has rigorous chemical review and pollution prevention programs across all of our worldwide manufacturing sites. Our goal is to identify opportunities to reduce or eliminate chemical use and waste generation, whether through process innovation, finding new efficiencies, or novel ways of reusing or recycling materials.  

In 2023, across our global sites, GF completed a range of projects resulting in the combined reduction of more than 4,600 metric tons of hazardous waste and chemical use. Together, these projects represent $4.5 million in annual savings for GF.

Examples of these projects include:

  • In Singapore, a series of solvent usage reduction efforts by optimizing recipes at our 200mm fabs resulted in a combined annual chemical savings of $74,000 per year.
  • In New York, our team completed a project to adjust concentrations of chemicals used in the wet cleans process, which will reduce consumption by 70 tons of hydrogen peroxide and 26 tons of ammonium hydroxide per year, saving the company approximately $138,000 per year in material costs.
  • In Vermont, our team developed a new method for reducing and optimizing the use of specific gases used as cleaning agents inside semiconductor manufacturing tools, resulting in a savings of $60,000 year.

Thank you for taking the time to read and learn more about GF’s commitment to improving our resource conservation efforts, sustainable operations, and minimizing our impact on the environment. Click here for additional information.

Candice Callahan is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff with GF’s Corporate EHS & Sustainability Team. She is based in Essex Junction, Vermont, with a focus on GF’s Environmental Performance, Resource Conservation and Sustainability efforts.

1 Using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that the average U.S. family uses 300 gallons of water per day [link]

2 Normalized water use is how we measure efficiency for how much water it takes to manufacture our products.