THE XZERO SYSTEM

THE XZERO SYSTEM

The Xzero-system reaches higher purity by reducing the number of process steps, there are fewer sources of error than in today’s cutting-edge technology. Fewer steps mean fewer complications and higher reliability, which, is considered important in the industry.

To ensure that the outcome is absolutely pure, several auxiliary aspects are included. Nitrogen blanketing and vacuum ensures that the water is not recontaminated by volatiles. And, careful design and selection of inert materials ensures that the process equipment itself does not contaminate water.

Schematical representation of a Xzero system

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Applications

There are two applications for which Xzero’s systems are suited.
Production of UPW & Recovering of water after use

Production of UPW

Typical Chip Plant Water Use
Daily water consumption 1,5 million liters or 400,000 US gallons
Capital Cost $ 10 million
Cost per US gallon 2-3 cents

CENTRAL PLANT
1-2 million liters of UPW/day

CLEAN ROOM 2-5
Average 300,000-750,000 liters
of UPW/day

WORK STATIONS
Average 40,000-60,000 liters
of UPW/day

BATCH
Average 7,000
liters of UPW/day

High-purity water, by itself or as solvent to other chemicals, is used to remove chemicals and reaction products. The size of potential contaminants to be eliminated reduces as chips get more compact.

There are differences in pattern of use with all producers having a central plant where make up water is prepared. The average is 1.5 million liters (400,000 US gallons) but an increasing number of plants being set up are many times that size. Water is pumped from the central plant to fabs or clean rooms and the average plant may have two to five such points.

Actual consumption of UPW varies from plant to plant and over time with emphasis changing between processes and tools. Despite awareness that water consumption must be minimized, the industry is increasing water use, simply because more advanced chips need more rinsing.

Recovering of water after use

UPW is a valuable material to be used in an optimal way and simply dumping contaminated water is fast becoming unacceptable. In the US, utilities and regional authorities have made water use and dumping central to relations with the industry and the EPA is keeping a close watch on the situation.

Early attempts at reusing water took advantage of the fact that some of the water could be recovered to water lawns or in cooling towers and scrubbers. Achieving the first 40% reduction in water consumption is therefore far easier than reaching 70% and above. Of greatest interest is the possibility of re-using water for rinsing of chips. Most new plants take some initiative to lower water consumption at an additional capital investment. The Xzero system allows close to 100% recovery with little additional cost.

Advantages

Xzero offers the following advantages:

  • Simpler | uses far fewer steps than existing systems.
  • Purer |  can remove all contaminants.
  • Consistent |  always removes all contaminants.
  • Zero discharge |  can recirculate water and concentrate contaminants to solid residue.
  • Economical |  lower capital and operating costs.

Demo – Stockholm, Sweden

Test – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Pilot – Doha, Qatar

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Tests of LastRinse prototype in Xzero lab, Jan Coenen and Henrik Dolfe

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Miriam Åslin shows samples for reference use

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Prototype for LastRinse core

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Test of LastRinse prototype at imec lab, Jan Coenen and Miriam Åslin