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MANUFACTURING

Producing computing devices is not the clean image it is cut out to be.

INTENSIVE MANUFACTURING

COMPUTERS REQUIRE

Producing a single computer requires:

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of fossil fuels

of chemicals

of water

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LOW ENTROPY MATTER

First generation Intel Core i7 processor.

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ENERGY

Digital technology is a product of cheap energy, power hungry production methods are inherent to its design.

As energy resources continue to fall, future cheap energy is not guaranteed.

CONVENTIONAL

MANUFACTURING

Megajoules consumed for 1Kg of finished product.

Producing semiconductors consumes

more energy than traditional goods.

SEMICONDUCTOR

MANUFACTURING

Megajoules consumed for 1Kg of finished microchips.

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CHEMICALS

Thousands of different chemicals, many in high quantities, are used throughout the manufacturing process.

Most are extremely toxic, and new ones with unknown consequences are constantly developed.

ACETONE

Polishing of silicon wafers.

HYDROCHLORIC ACID

Photoelectrochemical etching.

ARSENIC

Increases semiconductor conductivity.

LEAD

Electroplated soldering.

ARSINE

Chemical vapor deposition.

METHYL CHLOROFORM

Washing.

BENZENE

Photoelectrochemical etching.

TOLUENE

Chemical vapor deposition.

CADMIUM

Creates a positive charge in silicon.

TRICHLOROETHYLENE

Washing.

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LEGACY OF CONTAMINATION

Directly as a result of semiconductor production, Silicon Valley has the most toxic waste sites of any region in the entire USA. 

 

Other areas where there is a history of electronics manufacturing, such as Upstate New York, has a similar problem.

Every large electronics manufacturer that began operations before the 1970s has a toxic waste site in its history.

Toxic waste sites, Silicon Valley.

A typical semiconductor manufacturing facility consumes

This is equivalent to the consumption of

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ONE SPECK OF DUST

Microchips are assembled in super clean rooms, a single dust particle would ruin it.

Facilities need advanced filtration and circulation systems, the air is up to 100,000 times more pure than a hospital operating room.

Workers wear bunny suits not for their protection, but for the protection of the chips against any particles from a human body.

A semiconductor clean room.

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A GLOBAL PROCESS

The supply chain for computing devices makes up the most sophisticated and complex supply chain system in human history.

Raw resources and components are produced and shipped all around the planet before final assembly.

The global computer supply chain visualized.

SHEER VOLUME

Semiconductors are produced in numbers that dwarf other products. 

To function, a computer requires hundreds of components, including over 100 microchips.

INTERNET CONNECTED DEVICES IN BILLIONS

2015 - 2025

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EXPLODING DEMAND

Any efficiency gains of digital technology will be absorbed by the growing footprint as the number of internet connected devices is expected to triple in the next 5 years.

SILICON WAFERS

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A finished silicon wafer.

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STEP 1

QUARTZITE

STEP 2

ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE

At around 2000 degrees celsius, the quartzite is reduced with coke to metallurgical grade silicon in an electric arc furnace.

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STEP 3

FLUIDIZED BED REACTOR

STEP 4

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CVD REACTOR

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STEP 5

POLYSILICON

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POLYCRYSTALLINE

STRUCTURE

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MONOCRYSTALLINE

STRUCTURE

STEP 6

MONOCRYSTALLINE

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STEP 7

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GROUND AND CUT

STEP 8

FLATTENED

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STEP 9

ETCHED AND POLISHED

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FINISHED PRODUCT

The end result is a 99.9999999% pure, perfectly flat, crystalline silicon semiconductor substrate, ready for micro circuits to be built on it.

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Raw Polysilicon

1 KG

Finished Wafers

REQUIRED FOR

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ONE SQUARE CENTIMETER OF WAFER

0.16 GRAMS

CONSUMES

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WATER

20,000 GRAMS

CHEMICALS

46 GRAMS

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ELEMENTAL GASSES

556 GRAMS

AND GENERATES

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TOXIC WASTES

7,800 GRAMS

The waste consists mostly of nitrate compounds, causing ecosystem unbalance.

Most silicon wafer production is done in China where there is little environmental regulation.

SILICON PRODUCTION

2018

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MICROCHIPS

BILLIONS

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A silicon wafer with micro circuits etched on.

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3D section of a microchip.

Many layers of circuitry are built on top of another.

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LAYER FORMATION

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PHOTOLITHOGRAPHY

The wafer is coated with photosensitive resist chemicals that harden when exposed to UV light.

 

In a dark room, light is project through an image mask of the layer design, then a minitizuration lens, and finally onto the wafer. The pattern is hardened on the wafer.

Etching chemicals are then used to remove areas of material not covered by the hardened photoresist.

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LAYER MODIFICATION

ION IMPLANTATION

The wafer is bombarded with ionized plasma to infuse the silicon with different dopants, resulting in altered conductive properties.

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LAYER MODIFICATION

DIFFUSION

Impurities are baked into areas of the silicon to further alter electrical conductivity properties.

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LAYER MODIFICATION

DEPOSITION

Insulating layers are grown on the silicon substrate.

A specialized deposition method called metallization forms critical connections between different areas of the chip.

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FINISHING

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A finished wafer can carry hundreds of chips.

Using extremely precise diamond saws, the wafer is cut up into the individual chips.

 

They are then installed in packages which prevent damage and serve as a connection interface for circuit boards.

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FINISHED CHIP

After a few months and hundreds of processing steps, the microchip is finished.

You will find over 100 microchips in a typical computer.

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ONE MICROCHIP

2 GRAMS

CONSUMES

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CHEMICALS

72 GRAMS

ULTRA PURE WATER

32,000 GRAMS

FOSSIL FUELS

1600 GRAMS

AND GENERATES

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TOXIC WASTES

26,000 GRAMS

Not including air emissions.

GROWING PRODUCTION

To supply our increasing consumption of computing devices, the microchip industry has steadily grown since its inception.

SEMICONDUCTOR WORLDWIDE REVENUE IN BILLIONS

1988 - 2018

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COMPUTERS REQUIRE

INTENSIVE MANUFACTURING

CONSUMES LOADS OF ENERGY, CHEMICALS, AND WATER

THEY HAVE

SHORT LIFESPANS

AND THEIR

DEMAND IS INCREASING

THIS WILL CAUSE

MAJOR WASTE AND DESTRUCTION

THIS SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE REBOOTED -

The current computing model of take, make, and dispose needs to be reimagined.

This is critical if humanity is to survive and prosper into the future.

THE SOLUTION

MANUFACTURING IS ONLY ONE PART OF THE PROBLEM

RESOURCES

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EXPAND

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DISPOSAL

+

EXPAND

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