Innovation in water conservation

Marshall Chase | March 2020

As we commemorate World Water Day, let’s explore how Micron uses (and reuses) water to manufacture memory and storage technology — and how we are good stewards of this precious resource. While water is an “infinitely renewable” resource, it can also be scarce and requires responsible management.

Yes, Micron uses a lot of water!

People outside the industry may not realize it, but the memory manufacturing process requires water — lots of it. Micron memory and storage products all start out as silicon wafers. Each wafer goes through a series of cleaning steps requiring ultrapure water to ensure quality.

In 2018, Micron reported global water withdrawal of 48 million cubic meters. For context, 1 cubic meter of water equals about 264 gallons. As semiconductor technologies have become more complex and the demand for water has grown, Micron has proactively managed water consumption by identifying opportunities to increase water efficiency and reduce raw water demand. Our manufacturing sites generate ultrapure water from a combination of recycled water from our operations and local, untreated water resources.

While this water consumption figure is large, initiatives at our manufacturing sites achieved an average of about 50% water recycling rate in 2018. Wastewater from our operations that is not recycled or otherwise reused on site is treated to local standards and discharged, bringing our total water consumption figure down to 10 million cubic meters.

But we’re innovative and use it wisely

The importance of water to our business means that we have a unique perspective when it comes to discovering innovative ways to renew and recycle it. Boise, Idaho, is home to Micron headquarters. It is also home to our state-of-the-art 300,000-square foot research and development facility, boasting a $3 billion world-class fab that designs, engineers and refines our leading memory and storage products. Through several innovative solutions detailed in the video below, this site reclaims 75% of all process water.

The semiarid environment of Boise — which relies mostly on groundwater — is not the only place where Micron conducts significant manufacturing operations. We also have a world-class manufacturing facility in Singapore. Located near the equator, Singapore has a typically tropical climate with abundant rainfall — around 2,400 millimeters (about 94.5 inches) a year.

Yet Singapore is an island nation with limited fresh groundwater. To capitalize on the water that falls from the sky and conserve the water in and on the ground, we have installed rainwater capture infrastructure at our expanded North Coast fabrication site in Singapore. Micron’s Singapore site can source 98% of our water from reclaimed and/or desalination facilities there. Learn more about our sustainability efforts at our Singapore facility in the following video:

While Micron has made strides in water conservation innovation, we recognize that there is still work to be done. We are preparing our 2020 sustainability report to be released later this year. In it, we set goals for ourselves and make plans to achieve them.

You can do your part to conserve water!

Lofty corporate sustainability goal-setting also makes me think about everyday things I can do at home to be a better steward of our resources. Here are a few websites with ideas on how you can conserve in your life every day — because getting innovative when it comes to water conservation is something we all can work toward. Setting your own goals is a great way to celebrate World Water Day!

Director, Sustainability

Marshall Chase

Director of Sustainability Marshall Chase partners with Micron’s senior leadership and our 40,000 team members worldwide to integrate environmental and social issues into Micron’s business strategy and operations.