Workers pose for a photo with recycled material from semiconductor wastewater sludge. (Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Steel announced Monday that they had developed a new wastewater recycling technology that would allow sludge from the chip manufacturing process to be reused for steelmaking.
Their joint research found that calcium fluoride in the sludge was similar to fluorite, a material used in steelmaking to reduce melting temperatures and remove impurities.
Hyundai Steel said it expected the deal to help the company save on costs, since South Korean steelmakers rely entirely on imports for fluorite. Hyundai Steel currently imports around 20,000 tons of fluorite a year. With the new technology, the company anticipates being able to replace 10,000 tons of fluorite with calcium fluoride from wastewater sludge.
The latest technology will help Samsung Electronics meet its environmental objectives by recycling its wastewater.
Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Steel started their joint research on wastewater in August last year after signing a partnership agreement with local recycling firm Pos Ceramics to develop the wastewater recycling technology.
In April this year, Hyundai Steel used 30 tons of the fluorite substitute to produce steel products at its plant in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province.
In August, the two companies received final approval for the technology from the National Institute of Environmental Research.