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Market Research

Semiconductor Pollution Prevention in Taiwan
Recent discoveries of groundwater contamination and health problems attributed to semiconductor manufacturing have resulted in a public outcry for pollution prevention measures for the high-tech industry. By July 2000, all current semiconductor production operations must meet emission standards as stipulated in the Air Pollution Emission Standards for the Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry. This presents opportunities to U.S. suppliers for a vast array of goods and services.

I. MARKET SITUATION

Since 1989, the market for integrated circuits (IC) and/or chips has increased by double-digit percentage points annually. In 1997, market demand was estimated at NT$235.5 billion and NT$225 billion in 1998. Currently, there are 81 domestic firms involved in IC manufacture and design; 21 IC wafer producers; 23 assembly firms; and 16 testing companies. Semiconductor giants Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has announced plans to spend NT$400 billion and NT$500 billion, respectively, to expand capacity in the next 10 years.

II. PUBLIC CONCERNS

According to Taiwan Environmental Engineering Association (TEEA) chairman M.S. Pan, semiconductor manufacturing involves acid and alkaline solutions, organic solvents and specialized gases that place factory workers in real health danger. In addition, IC production creates wastes including volatile organic compounds (VOC), packaging, cleaning agents, waste oil, sludge, etching waste liquid and treated air effluent. Clean rooms also generate such wastes as masks, gloves and shoes. Because disposal of much of these wastes involves treatment and then burial, the potential for soil and groundwater contamination is a great concern. Air effluent is harmful to human health and can cause respiratory problems, cancer and infertility. Emitted CFC compounds also damage the ozone layer. With recent environmental awareness, stiffer EPA monitoring and regulatory controls, and international certification such as ISO 14000, Taiwan industries need to invest substantially in pollution prevention measures.

III. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

According to the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (TEPA), compliance with Air Pollution Emission Standards will result in an estimated reduction of 2,700 tons of VOC and acid gas emissions per year. The TEPA recently drafted the Soil Pollution Control Act which has since received Executive Yuan approval and now requires Legislative Yuan review. The draft includes features such as a strong information reporting system to monitor soil pollution. Another feature involves the establishment of a Soil Pollution Remediation Fund to aid pollution cleanup fees. The TEPA is also developing the Groundwater Contamination Remediation Procedures and a contamination and monitoring area delineation plan. The major focuses of groundwater remediation in the future will involve strengthening controls on underground oil storage tanks and monitoring industrial parks and industries with high contamination risk.

IV. ELECTRONIC SECTOR TECHNICAL NEEDS

The following technologies were identified as those especially needed in the electronic sector:

Semiconductor Industry:
Water reuse systems including waste stream segregation and wastewater recycling alternatives
Innovative wastewater treatment technologies
Treatment or disposal of organic solvent and acidic waste liquid
Calcium fluoride sludge minimization as well as reuse technologies
Recovery and recycling of fluoride, sulfuric acid and copper from wastewater
Pollution reduction and source control by employing cleaner technologies
VOC abatement

Printed Circuit Board Industry:
Management options for waste oil, relaxing agent liquid and waste epoxy resin
Reduction of toxins throughout the process of printed circuit board manufacture
Effective means for COD removal on direct dischargers
Solvents for treatment/recycling of nitric acid strippers, rack strippers or alternatives
Recycling of metal sludge such as copper and sludge reduction
Segregation and neutralization of chelate compounds
Treatment and waste recycling for etching solutions, acid or alkaline etchants
Recycling of scrap materials
Effective processes to mitigate high concentration of dissolved solids within waste streams

Electroplating Industry:
Purification of rinse water generated from electroplating processes




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