Orla McCoy

UPM Community Engagement Manager

Based in Oxford, UK

Entegris; Page; Chemicals; Company News;

Chemical Reuse and Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities

Entegris Applications Engineering Manager Siddarth Sampath and Page Mechanical Engineer Joshua Mulder offer insights regarding why chemical reuse and reclamation is an increasingly important topic for the UPM Community.

The volume and diversity of chemicals required for semiconductor manufacturing are drivers for reclamation and reuse. 
A greater variety and volume of chemicals are being used in semiconductor manufacturing as product demand increases and technology becomes more complex. This is because new process steps are added as devices become more complex, and new chemicals are needed for each process. These trends – alongside a desire within the industry to limit the environmental impact of chip production – are prompting interest in chemical reclamation and reuse, Siddarth Sampath, Applications Engineering Manager at Entegris, told UPM. 

Joshua Mulder, a Mechanical Engineer at Page, explained to UPM that the industry’s supply chain bottlenecks are another major driver for chemical recycling. Large volumes of specialty chemicals are required for semiconductor manufacturing. These are often sourced from overseas, but even domestic supplies are difficult to secure on a consistent basis. 
Opportunities for maximizing chemical reclaim and reuse are available. 
Drain segregation is an important practice for fabs due to the large volume of complex and diversity of chemicals. The large number of greenfield fab construction projects around the globe represent a significant opportunity for the industry to implement more efficient methods of chemical reclamation. Mulder said that “the easiest and most efficient means to enable better reclamation and recycling of chemicals is to put an emphasis on these programs at the beginning of the design phase for fabs. Techniques like drain segregation for unique chemical capture or installation of caustic/acid waste combination systems to neutralize the two waste streams more efficiently are methods best planned for the start-up phase of a new facility.’ 

Sampath also pointed to excellent examples of water reclamation that allow for better water reuse. The industry can take examples from water reclamation strategies and apply them to the reclaim of solvent and other chemicals. For example, just as manufacturers place emphasis on water reclamation programs which can recapture purer water streams for reuse in non-process applications, a solvent which has relatively little contamination can be recaptured discretely, treated, and reused in an application with less stringent purity applications. 

Sampath emphasizes that industry collaboration is a useful method to enable more efficient chemical reclamation and reuse. Knowledge-sharing between chip manufacturers, suppliers, and contamination control solution providers can help to develop the right strategies to minimize chemical waste. The expertise of chemical manufacturers in handling and processing chemicals is also valuable to maximize reclaim. 

Outstanding issues present barriers for greater chemical reuse and reclamation. 
Mulder and Sampath agreed that a major consideration for expanding chemical reclamation and recycling is how to make such practices economically feasible. Manufacturers are hesitant to alter established chemical waste handling approaches due to the capital costs associated with installing equipment and infrastructure . The fact that existing fabs typically lack space for new equipment installations is another key limitation on wider adoption of chemical recycling at legacy sites. However, there is ample opportunity for the adoption of the practice to grow with the design of new facilities at greenfield sites. 


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