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🗞️ Driving the news: Semiconductors are crucial for modern technology and the green transition, powering everything from smartphones to electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy systems
• However, their production is resource-intensive, demanding significant amounts of energy and water, and often relies on fossil fuels, raising concerns about the environmental cost of semiconductor manufacturing.
🔭 The context: The chip industry is facing a paradox; while semiconductors are vital for decarbonization and the transition towards a green economy, their manufacturing process is not sustainable.
• Advanced chips, such as the 3nm chips, are expected to consume up to 7.7 billion kilowatt-hours annually
• Yet, semiconductors are indispensable for green technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and EVs, suggesting a complex relationship between semiconductor production and environmental sustainability.
🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Semiconductors enable significant advancements in energy efficiency and are key to expanding renewable energy and electric mobility
• However, the environmental footprint of their production process, including high carbon emissions and water use, poses a challenge to achieving a net-zero future.
⏭️ What's next: The semiconductor industry is taking steps towards sustainability, with major companies like TSMC and Intel committing to renewable energy and net-zero emissions goals. These efforts, along with increased focus on water conservation and reducing the use of polluting chemicals, are crucial for aligning semiconductor manufacturing with environmental goals.
💬 One quote: "For over a decade, semiconductor companies have been trying to mitigate the environmental impact of their business operations," reflecting the industry's growing recognition of its role in ensuring a sustainable future.
📈 One stat: The global stock of electric cars reached 10 million vehicles in 2020, a 43% increase over 2019, illustrating the growing demand for semiconductors in the green economy.
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