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Taiwan invests millions in semiconductor recycling hub

United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has broken ground on its Circular Economy & Recycling Innovation Center in the city of Tainan, Taiwan. It will treat mostly semiconductor manufacturing waste.

UMC has invested a total of TW$ 1.8 billion (EUR 53.8 million) in the new facility, which is described as the first recycling R&D centre in Southern Taiwan. The hub is scheduled to start operations in 2025, with a processing capacity of 15 000 tonnes per year.

In the first phase, UMC’s R&D hub will process waste produced during IC manufacturing processes into products that can be reused or sold, such as turning liquid waste and sludge into industrial-grade products. ‘Any waste solvents that cannot be purified will be treated via a thermal cracking process to produce fuel and gas to power the facility,’ says UMC’s president S.C. Chien.

In the second phase, the innovation centre will optimise its thermal cracking technology so it may directly convert waste solvents and plastics into energy supply. Once operational, Chien expects the facility to reduce waste the company’s production waste by one-third, creating around EUR 2.9 million worth of value-added products.

‘Working hand in hand with our value chain partners, we believe we can raise the bar for circularity in Taiwan, and enhance our industry’s competitiveness through sustainable practices,’ he notes.

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