green hydrogen
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Air Liquide Far Eastern (ALFE), the joint venture between the Air Liquide Group and Taiwan Far Eastern Group had set up the world’s largest ultra-purifying hydrogen facility in Tainan Science Park in southern Taiwan in April, empowered by renewable energy to produce purified hydrogen used in the advanced semiconductor production equipment – extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

Traditionally fueled by coal and gas now turns green

This marks a step towards clean energy.

While purified hydrogen is needed for EUV to function, hydrogen is also becoming a global bet as a clean substitute for fossil fuels, which is adopted for steel and cement manufacturing. Steel is currently responsible for 7% of the global carbon emission while it takes up 14% of those in Taiwan.

Traditionally, burned fossil fuels are used for steel manufacturing and generate carbon dioxide as a by-product that incites climate change. This is where hydrogen comes in as a game-changer.

Hydrogen burns cleaner than fossil fuels. One way of hydrogen production is via electrolysis, which sends an electric current through the water and split the water molecules into hydrogen atoms and oxygen, achieving hydrogen production while committing to a carbon-free process. If the electricity used for electrolyzing adopt renewable energy, the gas produced is named ‘green hydrogen’.  

Its counterparts include ‘gray hydrogen’, from which the hydrogen is produced from burning fossil fuels and generates carbon dioxide as a by-product; ‘blue hydrogen’ which captures the carbon dioxide output alongside hydrogen.

Clean hydrogen to account for 24% of world energy demand in 2050

Analysts have estimated that clean hydrogen could account for 24% of world energy demand by 2050, up from 2% in 2020 according to BNEF

According to the Hydrogen Council, thirty countries have set hydrogen roadmaps as of 2021, and over 200 large-scale hydrogen projects have been announced across the value chain, with 85% located in Europe, Asia, and Australia.  If all projects come to fruition, total investments will reach more than US$300 billion in spending through 2030.

Currently, roughly 48% of the hydrogen produced worldwide is through natural gas. The Taiwanese government had set goals for renewable energy to reach 20% of domestic electricity demands up from 5.8% in 2020. With goals yet to catch up for green hydrogen adoption.

The semiconductor industry is adopting cleaner energy

Most of TSMC’s most advanced technology nodes are located in Taiwan. With each next-generation semiconductor technology node development indicating investments of over trillions of dollars. 

The colossal investment comes with a great deal of energy consumption, which TSMC has laid much emphasis on in recent years through tracking energy records in their annual CSR report.

Participating in the RE100 underlines TSMC’s commission to sourcing 100% renewable electricity across its entire global operations by 2050, which further encourages suppliers down the line to cut carbon emission and source renewable energy.

The more advanced technology nodes require EUV to use ever more purified-hydrogen

Currently, the advanced technology nodes below 7nm processes require EUV lithography equipment. The low wavelength lithography prints minimal circuit patterns on the silicon wafer and the EUV light requires ultra-purified hydrogen to prevent dysfunction.

According to ALFE President Olivier Blachier, the new renewable energy empowered electrolyzing plant will cut carbon emissions by 8,000 tons per year compared to the natural gas fueled process, which will accumulate to be the equivalent of planting 1 million trees.


Sources: Commonwealth MagazineCommonwealth Magazine