Orla McCoy

UPM Community Engagement Manager

Based in Oxford, UK

Investment and market trends;

Chart of the month: Global water-related CAPEX for the microelectronics industry

Forecast growth for water-related capital expenditure through to 2027

Source: GWI WaterData

This month’s chart shows forecast for global water-related capital expenditure for the microelectronics industry. This includes spending on ultrapure water, wastewater, water reuse/recycling, and non-process applications like cooling and scrubbers. Booming global demand for microchips is driving capital expenditure in water treatment systems, which we predict will exceed $4 billion in 2022. 2021 and 2022 represent years of high growth rates for water-related capital expenditure, but the market growth will be less sharp from 2023 onwards as new builds decline in number.

Some geographies are growing faster than others. East Asia/Pacific hosts 80% of global manufacturing capacity, but growth in this region is expected to stagnate after 2023. The slowdown is due to export restrictions of technology to China – including Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) technology required for advanced chip applications. Adding to the stagnation is the issue of reduced demand for consumer chip applications following the country’s economic downturn. 
Meanwhile, the US, Europe and India will have stronger growth rates than East/Asia Pacific in this period. In the US, there is an unprecedented rate of construction of new fabs which produce leading-edge technology from top-tier manufacturers like Intel and Samsung. Advanced fabs drive investment in both ultrapure water and wastewater, as treatment becomes extremely complicated. Manufacturing processes for advanced device applications require higher quality UPW and incorporate more speciality chemistries which must be treated before discharge. Fab locations in the US are also often in water-stressed areas and fabs strive to recycle and reuse water – especially as sustainability goals increase ambition to invest in advanced reuse technologies. However, supply chain bottlenecks and drops in demand for semiconductors will cause a reduction in investment in the long term. 
Europe currently hosts few advanced manufacturing facilities, but recent investments in leading-edge manufacturing from Intel in Europe – such as the $19 billion fab campus investment in Madgeburg, Germany – will bring a significant upsurge of investment in ultrapure water and wastewater systems in 2022 and 2023.
India currently does not have any semiconductor manufacturing, but the government has recently announced $10 billion of incentives to boost domestic manufacturing and is already attracting substantial investment. There is also increasing demand from the photovoltaic market in India. 

Full details of the regional breakdown and spending on different applications can be found at: https://www.gwiwaterdata.com/ 


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