TSMC made it a further step towards circular economy through its recycling system for waste sulfuric acid.

TSMC Realizes Zero Purchase of Industrial-Grade Sulfuric Acid, a Milestone of Circular Economy

Karen Cheng
C.S. Ke
Chien-Cheng Hsiao
Jimmy Liu

TSMC is committed to green manufacturing, and adheres to the waste management principle of "Minimizing Waste and Maximizing Sustainable Use of Resources." As the Company's production and R&D continues scale-up, prevention of related environmental impact and high-efficient use of resources have become TSMC's long-term goals for sustainable development.

In 2019, TSMC achieved zero purchase of industrial-grade sulfuric acid, which was used in wastewater treatment system, by in-house waste sulfuric acid recycling system. In the same year, the Company collaborated with suppliers and successfully built industry's first pilot plant for electronic-grade sulfuric acid recycling, making it a further step towards circular economy.

Milestones of Sulfuric Acid Recycling at TSMC

Zero Purchase – Turning Waste Sulfuric Acid into Industrial-Grade Sulfuric Acid for Internal Use

As the Company continues expanding its research and development, TSMC is proactively adopting all kinds of green activities to prevent related increases in waste production. To achieve the goal of circular economy, TSMC not only introduces in-house waste regeneration facilities, but also revises the Company's Articles of Incorporation.

To reduce the amount of waste sulfuric acid being outsourced for treatment, which accounts the majority of waste chemical, TSMC has put a lot of efforts to develop for in-house recycling. In 2014, Facility Division successfully developed a recycling system to remove hydrogen peroxide from waste sulfuric acid, and replaced industrial-grade sulfuric acid with recycled sulfuric acid. This approach expanded the opportunities for improvement and reduced the purchase of raw materials. In 2019, TSMC achieved the goal of zero-purchase of industrial-grade sulfuric acid, and the amount of waste sulfuric acid outsourced for treatment was reduced by over 95,000 metric tons (equivalent to the amount of industrial-grade sulfuric acid that had to be purchased in the past). This project also brought in an per year.

Waste Sulfuric Acid Recycling in 2019

Upcycling Waste Sulfuric Acid into Semiconductor-grade Raw Material

TSMC aims to replace virgin raw material with recycled raw material and reduce natural exploitation through this material recycling model. In 2016, the Company worked with suppliers to implement the plan of “Circular Economy 3.0”and developed an innovative waste upcycling technology. In 2019, first pilot plant was successfully set up to refine waste sulfuric acid into electronic-grade sulfuric acid, taking a significant stride towards our vision of circular economy.

TSMC Waste Sulfuric Acid Recycling Process towards Circular Economy