Intel takes byte out of water risk with reuse project

 

Plans from Silicon Valley computer giant Intel to create its biggest water recycling facility are moving forward after the company secured $120 million in tax-free bonds.

The money will help finance the $600 million water reuse development as part of its new D1X factory in Hillsboro, according to local source Oregon Live.

Semi-conducting manufacturing is a water-intense business and water reuse – either onsite industrial reuse or taking reclaimed municipal wastewater - is proving to be a viable solution.

Even Asian semiconductor powerhouse Taiwan recently unveiled how it is progressing with plans to reuse municipal wastewater to feed its increasingly thirsty industrial water demand.

Meeting water demand

Each year, Intel uses approximately three billion gallons (11.4 million m3/y) of water at its manufacturing campus in Washington County.

More than $237 million has been invested in the company’s water conservation projects since 1998, according to its 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility report.

The company has set an ambitious goal to return 100 percent of its water to communities and watershed for local use by 2025. By the end of 2017 this figure stood at 84 percent.

Below you can see Fawn Bergen, global water stewardship manager at Intel discussing the company’s broader water restoration goals:


Industrial water tech

Few details have been publicly released about Intel’s water recycling plant. In March 2017 GE honoured the company with an Ecomagination Award to celebrate the development although its relationship to the project remains unclear.

At the time a statement said: “Once operational, the facility will recycle industrial water discharged from the manufacturing process for reuse in facility systems such as cooling towers, scrubbers and abatement equipment. In addition, the water discharged to the municipal wastewater treatment system will be cooler and cleaner.”

Once complete, the Hillsboro project will enable one billion gallons (3.8 million m3/y) of water to be recycled each year.

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