Research centre aims to make global chip production more sustainable

Three of the world's largest chip manufacturers will work with the Belgian research centre imec to make the production of computer chips more sustainable. The Leuven-based centre announced this on Tuesday.

The collaboration with GlobalFoundries, Samsung Electronics and TSMC is part of imec's 2021 sustainability programme, which brings together the entire supply chain.

A 2021 study by Harvard University and Arizona State University found that almost 75 per cent of the CO2 emissions from devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets can be attributed to their manufacture. Chip manufacturing accounts for nearly half of these emissions.

Reducing environmental impact

To make processes in the technology sector more sustainable, imec launched the Sustainable Semiconductor Technologies & Systems (STSS) programme. This initiative aims to bring together companies from the entire supply chain, from chip manufacturers to designers and equipment manufacturers, to inform the industry about its environmental impact and to reduce it as much as possible.

Technology giants like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft and suppliers like Applied Materials, ASML and Tokyo Electron have joined the programme.

"In the longer term, this will enable us to introduce improved processes and technology optimisations"

"By benchmarking our virtual models at GlobalFoundries, Samsung Electronics and TSMC, we will be able to better identify energy, water and mineral consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in different aspects of the chip manufacturing process," said Lars-Åke Ragnarsson, STSS programme director. "In the longer term, this will enable us to introduce improved processes and technology optimisations."


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