The importance of semiconductor technology is so immense that it is almost impossible to imagine a world without them.
However, with the geometrical increase in the demand for semiconductors, came a bigger impact on nature and the environment.
At Samsung Semiconductors, we produce our cutting-edge technologies sustainably by carefully developing, discovering, and adopting eco-friendly technologies that reduce carbon emissions and head toward zero impact on nature.
Samsung Semiconductor has long been making efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas inevitably produced when manufacturing semiconductors. We have been voluntarily reducing fluorine gas (F-gas) since 1999, when semiconductor manufacturers around the world signed an agreement at the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) to carry on the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, we installed and began the operation of an integrated greenhouse gas treatment facility to continue our efforts to reduce emissions. Since then, we’ve improved the treatment efficiency by expanding its use and developing catalysts.
The RCS (Regenerative Catalytic System) is a facility handling all the process gas with catalysts on the rooftop. By treating process gas at a low temperature,
Samsung Semiconductor’s RCS tends to use less fuel and emit fewer air pollutants compared to Point of Use (POU) facilities widely used by other manufacturers. We then went a step further and developed a more durable catalyst for our RCS with up to 95% processing efficiency. Jointly developed with Samsung Engineering as a large-capacity integrated greenhouse gas treatment facility in 2007, RCS was the first of its kind in the semiconductor industry to be applied in 2009, and has been in operation exclusively at
Samsung Semiconductor as of 2021.
Samsung Semiconductor focuses on treating process gas and expanding
the use of renewable energy to
reduce carbon emissions at worksites. Each worksite estimates its annual greenhouse gas emissions, defines greenhouse gas mitigation tasks optimized to the manufacturing
process and develops and
implements reduction plans.
In 2021, Samsung Semiconductor mitigated approximately 6.03 million tons of greenhouse gas in total compared to the estimated emissions, thanks to greenhouse gas
reduction projects, including
improving the process gas treatment facility efficiency, shifting to high-efficiency facilities and streamlining
the manufacturing processes.
Estimated greenhouse gas
at Samsung Semiconductor Worksites
Greenhouse gas reduction
rate in 2021
Renewable energy usage
To continuously reduce greenhouse gas,
Samsung Semiconductor has been carrying out tasks such as reducing process gas usage, improving treatment rate, using more renewable energy, saving energy consumption through efficient processing, and others. For starters, we are applying optimal processing time to use less process gas. In addition, we developed catalysts for RCS that improves gas treatment efficiency from 90% to more than 95%, ultimately increasing efficiency of the gas treatment facility. Furthermore, Samsung Semiconductor is also developing process gas with lower global warming potential. This alternative gas has been developed to replace perfluorocarbons (PFCs), one of the most potent greenhouse gases, used in the four major semiconductor processing steps — etching, diffusion, chemical vapor deposition and metallization. PFCs have been replaced in processing several products since 2018. Our efforts to research and develop alternative gas continue at the Samsung Semiconductor R&D Center.
Major efforts to reduce energy
Projects are tailored to each manufacturing site to reduce energy consumption.
To save electricity consumption,
we have been streamlining the manufacturing process, optimizing operations to reduce the number of main equipment testing, improving temperature conditions for auxiliary facilities and implementing high-efficiency facilities. For natural gas, we have been trying to use a lower amount of liquified natural gas (LNG) by recapturing waste heat with a cooling water system and heat exchangers, and adjusting air temperature and flow rate in outdoor air handling units.
② RCS facility
④ PFC scrubber
⑤ Acid scrubber
The RCS is a high-capacity treatment facility developed and used for the first time exclusively by Samsung Semiconductor. RCS is processed as follows: ① After being pre-treated with the scrubber, high-concentration corrosive gas is processed. ② The processed gas is transferred to the RCS to undergo catalytic cracking, where the gas treated in Step ① is decomposed at a high temperature (750℃). Here, carbon tetrafluoride (CF4), a harmful gas, and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a gas with 23,900x higher Global Warming Potential than CO₂, are treated. ③ Then, the scrubber used to remove residues from the semiconductor process is utilized to post-treat hydrogen fluoride (HF) from catalytic decomposition. ④, ⑤ After undergoing PFC scrubber and acid scrubber, the gas decomposed in the previous step is treated again to remove pollutants and be discharged into the air.