TOKYO, Sep 11, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) – Japanese company Organo Corp. (TSE:6368) has developed a recycling system for the hydrofluoric acid used during the semiconductor manufacturing process.
The company, which makes water treatment equipment for industry, aims to sell the system to the world’s chipmakers for their new factories, contending that in the long run it is cheaper to recycle the substance than treat it as waste.
Hydrofluoric acid is made from calcium fluoride. The price of this compound has risen rapidly in step with increased global demand. In Japan alone, some 40,000 tons of hydrofluoric acid are consumed each year, and almost all of it is chemically treated to make a solid that can be disposed.
In Organo’s new process, the used hydrofluoric acid is mixed with calcium and powdered calcium fluoride to generate a crystalline material that is very close in composition to natural calcium fluoride. This can be used as the starting material to make hydrofluoric acid and other products.
Some semiconductor factories now spend as much as hundreds of millions of yen a year processing the used hydrofluoric acid for disposal. Organo’s recycling facility costs around as much as a treatment facility to build, but the recovered calcium fluoride can be sold.