Air Liquide inks $250M deal to boost US semiconductor industry

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-06-06      Origin: Site


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Industrial gas major Air Liquide is set to construct a new $250m industrial gas production facility in Idaho, aimed at supplying ultra-pure nitrogen and other essential gases to Micron Technology, Inc., a semiconductor manufacturer, along with other local customers.

Backed by a long-term contract, the venture will be a part of Air Liquide’s Carrier Gas solution, which is designed for large-scale customers.

Slated to begin operations by the end of 2025, the plant will feature an ‘optimised land footprint’ and will make use of digitisation, standardisation and modularisation, claims the company.

According to Matthieu Giard, CEO of Americas at Air Liquide, the new plant will support the production of ‘leading-edge’ memory chips, notably to meet the growing demand for computing capacities required by AI.

“This contract illustrates our strategy to further accompany our customers in their development, including in the US,” he added. 

The plant is expected to be 5% more power-efficient than previous generation facilities, and the reliance on onsite gas production will eliminate the need for truck transportation. 

This aligns with the company’s 2025 strategic plan ADVANCE, for which the Electronics activity is a strong driver.

Given that memory is produced at a much larger size and scale than other segments of the semiconductor industry, Scott Gatzemeier, Corporate Vice President of front-end US expansion at Micron Technology, predicts the company’s investments to propel US supply chain resilience.

“As the company builds its fab in Idaho, Micron will be driving even more demand for equipment, raw materials and jobs – growing domestic front-end material sourcing 7x over the next 10 years,” he said.

The company plans to build a semiconductor ecosystem across the US through its planned Idaho and New York investments.

In 2023, the global semiconductor market faced a downturn, with sales expected to decline by 9.4% to around $520bn. However, projections for 2024 are optimistic, with an anticipated market rebound to $588bn, driven by a resurgence in demand for memory chips and other semiconductor products.

The US market is estimated to grow by 4.13% annually from 2024 to 2027, reaching a market volume of $87.43bn by 2027. Having seen a substantial drop in 2023, the memory chip market is also poised for recovery, driven by the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act.

The Act includes a $39bn investment in manufacturing incentives and an advanced manufacturing investment tax credit to bolster the domestic semiconductor supply chain and enhance national security.

It also aims to increase US semiconductor manufacturing capacity, projecting a 203% increase by 2032.

The surge in AI applications, mainly generative AI, has boosted demand for specialised semiconductor chips. This year, generative AI chip sales are expected to reach $50bn, accounting for about 8.5% of total semiconductor sales.

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