An image of a TBM system being used by SSC Underground was featured in a recent article from Engineering News-Record.
The city of Phoenix is constructing new water and wastewater infrastructure to support a microchip facility being built on the north side of the valley for the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). This facility will begin producing 5-nano-meter chips in 2024. The firm plans to produce 20,000 wafers per month in this high-tech, $12-billion fabrication (fab) plant.
“If you want more capacity, you have to build more fabs and that’s one of the reasons that we’re moving to the U.S.,” Rick Cassidy recently explained in a CNBC interview. Cassidy is TSMC’s chief strategy officer and the president and CEO of TSMC’s project in Arizona.
According to TSMC, the facility will directly create more than 1,600 positions as well as thousands of indirect jobs in the semiconductor ecosystem. A TSMC press release states: “This U.S. facility not only enables us to better support our customers and partners, it also gives us more opportunities to attract global talent.”
Massive Water Needs
Beyond the construction of the fab, special care was required to create the water infrastructure to support the exceptional needs of the microchip facility. As Dr. Farhang Shadman, director of the University of Arizona’s specialized semiconductor research lab, explained in a podcast with tech magazine IEEE Spectrum: “One [chip] manufacturing plant uses anywhere between 2-4 million gallons of very, very pure water—we call it ultrapure water—per day, and that, on the average, is roughly equivalent to the water usage of a city of maybe 40,000 to 50,000 people.”
The Package 1 water infrastructure construction includes a 52-million-gallons-per-day (MGD) pressure-reducing valve (PRV) station and associated electrical work, 10,500 linear ft of 54-in. steel water transmission main and 5,500 linear ft of 24-in. clay gravity sewer main. The new water transmission main requires a 220-ft crossing using a tunnel boring machine and 72-in. steel casing under a highway. Construction began in 2021, with substantial completion slated for this month.