Editorial Feature

Where Do Semiconductors Fit Into the Energy Crisis?

Semiconductors support the green transition by enabling renewable energy technologies. At the same time, semiconductor manufacturing consumes large amounts of energy, water and creates hazardous waste. The chip industry must reduce its environmental impact through sustainable manufacturing practices to meet its potential, enabling a green economy.

Image Credit: Aleksandra Suzi/Shutterstock.com

What Are Semiconductor Materials?

Semiconductor materials are materials with electric conductivity that can be tuned to only conduct electrons in one direction, or to switch conductivity on and off. They are used in a wide range of electronic devices, including computers, smartphones, and cars. Some of the most common semiconductor materials are silicon, germanium, and gallium arsenide.

Semiconductors are the foundation of modern computing. They are vital for all electronics, from smartphones to cars. However, the environmental cost of manufacturing them is a growing concern. Advanced 3 nm chip manufacturing is expected to use up to 7.7 billion kilowatt-hours of energy annually.

Semiconductors also enable the transition to a green economy. As decarbonization efforts increase, renewable energy and electric vehicles will become more common, driving demand for computer chips. The number of energy-carrying semiconductor materials used in the global renewable energy market is projected to grow by between 8% and 10% annually.

Can Semiconductor Materials Power Sustainable Solutions?

Semiconductors are essential to the clean energy transition. They are used in a wide range of renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines. Additionally, semiconductors are essential for the production of electric vehicles. As the demand for clean energy technologies grows, the demand for semiconductors will also grow.

Semiconductors play a key role in the development of green technologies, being used to harness, convert, transfer, and store renewable energy. They also enable responsive and efficient use of electricity through IoT technology.

Semiconductors are also used in a variety of other applications that contribute to the green transition, such as:

  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Smart homes and buildings
  • Electric vehicles
  • Renewable energy storage
  • Environmental monitoring

The environmental impact of semiconductor manufacturing is a growing concern. However, the industry is working to reduce its environmental impact through sustainable manufacturing practices.

The semiconductor industry is committed to reducing its environmental impact. The industry has set a goal of reducing its water use by 25% by 2025 and its energy use by 15% by 2025. The industry is also working to reduce its waste generation and improve its recycling rates.

The semiconductor industry is an important part of the green transition. Semiconductors are essential to the development of clean energy technologies and to the reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels.

Challenges for a Sustainable Semiconductor Sector

Semiconductors are the foundation of the modern computing industry, are essential to the green transition. However, the environmental cost of manufacturing them is a growing concern.

Semiconductors are made from silicon, which is a naturally abundant element. However, the process of refining and purifying silicon into the semiconductor-grade material that is used in chips is very energy-intensive. In addition, the manufacturing of semiconductors requires the use of a variety of chemicals, some of which are hazardous.

The environmental impact of semiconductor manufacturing is a growing concern. The industry is a major consumer of energy, and it is a significant source of air and water pollution. In addition, the manufacturing of semiconductors generates a large amount of waste, some of which is hazardous.

The semiconductor industry is working to reduce its environmental impact. The industry is investing in research and development to find ways to reduce the use of energy and water in the manufacturing process. The industry is also working to develop new technologies that will allow it to recycle and reuse more materials used in the manufacturing process.

The environmental impact of semiconductor manufacturing is a complex issue. The industry is a major consumer of energy and water, and it is a significant source of air and water pollution. However, the industry is also working to reduce its environmental impact. The industry is investing in research and development to find ways to reduce the use of energy and water in the manufacturing process. The industry is also working to develop new technologies that will allow it to recycle and reuse more of the materials that are used in the manufacturing process.

The semiconductor industry is beginning to address sustainability. The world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has pledged to rely fully on renewable energy by 2050 and has invested in the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Intel has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, but must address the use of polluting chemicals.

These are positive steps, but more needs to be done. The semiconductor industry is a major consumer of energy and water, and it is a significant source of air and water pollution. The industry must continue to invest in research and development to find ways to reduce its environmental impact.

The semiconductor industry is also working to develop new technologies that will allow it to recycle and reuse more of the materials that are used in the manufacturing process. This is a critical step, as the industry generates a large amount of waste.

The semiconductor industry is essential to the green transition, but it must do more to reduce its environmental impact. By investing in research and development and developing new technologies, the industry can help to create a more sustainable future.

Continue reading: Sustainable Water Practices in the Semiconductor Industry.

References and Further Reading

Favino, C. (2022). The Role of Semiconductors in the Renewable Energy Transition. [Online] Earth.org. Available at: https://earth.org/semiconductors/ 

Gupta, U., et al (2021). Chasing Carbon: The Elusive Environmental Footprint of Computing. Proceedings - International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture. doi.org/10.1109/HPCA51647.2021.00076.

Pilkington, B. (2019). The Role of Semiconductors in Clean Energy. [Online] AZO Cleantech. Available at: https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=965 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Ben Pilkington

Written by

Ben Pilkington

Ben Pilkington is a freelance writer who is interested in society and technology. He enjoys learning how the latest scientific developments can affect us and imagining what will be possible in the future. Since completing graduate studies at Oxford University in 2016, Ben has reported on developments in computer software, the UK technology industry, digital rights and privacy, industrial automation, IoT, AI, additive manufacturing, sustainability, and clean technology.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Pilkington, Ben. (2023, June 14). Where Do Semiconductors Fit Into the Energy Crisis?. AZoNano. Retrieved on April 16, 2024 from https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6437.

  • MLA

    Pilkington, Ben. "Where Do Semiconductors Fit Into the Energy Crisis?". AZoNano. 16 April 2024. <https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6437>.

  • Chicago

    Pilkington, Ben. "Where Do Semiconductors Fit Into the Energy Crisis?". AZoNano. https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6437. (accessed April 16, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Pilkington, Ben. 2023. Where Do Semiconductors Fit Into the Energy Crisis?. AZoNano, viewed 16 April 2024, https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6437.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.