Semiconductor Industry Is Key Ultrapure Water Market

Semiconductor fabs are a key market for the water business, as reported in the December ULTRAPURE WATER On-Line. The latest issue also examines treatment concerns in power generation and pharmaceutical uses, and considers boiler water treatment.

The semiconductor industry is an important water treatment market as high-purity water plays an important role in the manufacture of microelectronic chips and flat panel display products. This water is used at different stages of manufacturing to clean devices and its cleanliness is essential to prevent the high-purity water from being the source of product defects.

The lead article in the December issue of ULTRAPURE WATER journal reviews the semiconductor industry and its trends, and examines its place in the water business.

Globally, the semiconductor industry had 2009 sales of $226 billion, according to Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) data (1). The SIA further notes that 2009 sales in the United States were some $115 billion and that the industry accounted for 207,500 jobs in the United States last year.

According to 2007 data from the SIA, the two major product categories are integrated circuits (IC), and discrete and opto semiconductors. For 2007, the worldwide market for IC was $217.8 billion, and the discrete/opto market was $37.8 billion.

For the water business, sales opportunities arise when new fabs are built. These facilities need treatment systems that can cost several million dollars, as well as high-purity water distribution systems. According to current data from Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (2), the number of fabs worldwide should grow from 977 in 2010 to 1017 in 2012. The largest number of new fabs under construction are in China, followed by Taiwan, the Americas, and Japan.

The journal's article includes a figure that shows a breakdown of water usage in a typical semiconductor fab. Almost 41% of water use is high-purity uses in the manufacture of semiconductor devices; another 31% is used for non-high-purity water processes.

Aspects of the semiconductor water market include pretreatment equipment, high-purity water systems, wastewater treatment, cooling water, design/engineering, and system consulting, ULTRAPURE WATER notes. One market study from McIlvaine Co. (3) estimated that the overall world market for semiconductor high-purity water systems was $970.7 million in 2010. It is expected to exceed $1.5 billion by 2010. The article includes a table with these market study projections and also has a table that lists sales in different high-purity water markets.

Other articles in the December ULTRAPURE WATER On-Line http://www.ultrapurewater,.com issue examine water treatment in power plant and pharmaceutical applications, boilers, and the development of new method to predict precipitation in water systems.

One article by Brad Buecker of Kiewit Corp. examines the use of microfiltration (MF) to treat power plant water streams. The article notes that MF, a popular pretreatment method for drinking water treatment, is now being recognized by the power industry as a useful pretreatment ahead of reverse osmosis systems. One value of this treatment approach is that it can remove contaminants that can not only foul membranes, but also cause other problems in a power station.

Water treatment saturation and scaling indices play an important role in industrial water treatment as methods to predict potential scaling problems. Author Dan Robinette of Rocky Mountain Water Engineering examines the development of the three principle indices- the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI), the Ryznar Stability Index (RSI), and the Puckorius Scaling Index (PSI). As a result of his own work in water treatment, the author is proposing a new indicator to predict the likelihood of contaminant precipitation in water systems.

The December issue also includes an article by Jonathan Yourkin of GE Instruments that examines pharmaceutical water, and an article by Dr. Nicholas Martyak of Taminco Higher Amines, Inc. that reviews neutralization of carbon dioxide in boiler water. The issue is available at Information on Premier Subscriptions are available at the Ultrapure Water web site, or one may also send an email to:, or call 303/973-6700.

1. Semiconductor Industry Association, Washington, D.C. (November 2010).
2. Dieseldorff, C.G. "SEMI World Fab Forecast November 2011, preliminary edition", SEMI, San Jose, Calif. (November 2010).
3. McIlvaine, R., McIlvaine Co., Northfield, Ill. (November 2010).