GlobalWafers gains €100 million IPCEI subsidy for Italian wafer plant

GlobalWafers gains €100 million IPCEI subsidy for Italian wafer plant

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

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GlobalWafers’ Italian subsidiary, MEMC Electronic Materials SpA, has been awarded European funding of up to €103 million to establish a production facility for 300mm-diameter wafers.

The funding is a combination of money from the IPCEI-ME/CT (Important Project of Common European Interest in Microelectronics and Communications Technologies) program, the Italian Ministry of Enterprises and the Made in Italy fund.

MEMC is a subsidiary of Taiwan’s GlobalWafers Co. Ltd., the world’s third-largest manufacturer of semiconductor wafers.

The wafer facility, under construction at Novara in northwest Italy, will help support Europe’s expanding supply chain which has been highly dependent on imported wafers. Novara already makes 200mm-diameter wafers. Production of 300mm-diameter wafers is expected to start in 3Q24.

GlobalWafers announced a plan to build an advanced 300mm wafer production facility in February 2022 and said it would be operating by mid-2023 (see GlobalWafers looks to Europe for wafer factory). That plan depended on GlobalWafers gaining access to European funds such as IPCEI-ME/CT and financial participation from European chip manufacturing partners, the company said at the time.

GlobalWafers was looking to make 200mm and 300mm-diameter silicon on insulator wafers (SOI), 200mm float-zone wafers (FZ), silicon carbide (SiC) wafers (including SiC Epi) and gallium nitride on silicon wafers (GaN on Si).

In the recent announcement no budget was given for the construction of the facility or wafer manufacturing capacity. Nor did GlobalWafers disclose specific European chip manufacturing partners for whom the facility was being developed.

STMicroelectronics and Globalfoundries with wafer fabs in Germany and Italy are obvious potential candidates with TSMC’s European joint venture called ESMC as a potential future consumer of 300mm-diameter wafers from the facility.

A spokesperson for MEMC said: “GlobalWafers/MEMC SpA new 300mm Novara fab perfectly fits the European Commission’s definition of “Research and Development” and “First Industrial Deployment” of advanced technology. As the newest 300mm silicon wafer production facility in Europe, MEMC SpA is utilizing the industry’s most cutting-edge manufacturing technology to meet our customers’ ever more sophisticated requirements. We are honored to be part of the IPCEI ME/CT program and thank the EU Commission and MIMIT for their support. Production is expected from Q3 2024”

In a statement Marco Sciamanna, president of MEMC Electronic Materials SpA, said: “Our new MEMC 300mm production facility will support the creation of downstream products in all four of the high-tech workstreams targeted by the IPCEI-ME/CT program, namely SENSE (Sensor applications), THINK (Logic applications), ACT (Power Applications), and COMMUNICATE (Communication applications).”

Related links and articles:

News articles:

GlobalWafers looks to Europe for wafer factory

X-Fab, Soitec team up on SiC wafers

China’s Silex announces fab to make MEMS on 300mm wafers

IQE launches 150mm wafers for indium-phosphide lasers

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