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Emission Standards Revised for Semiconductor Industry

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The revised Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards for the Semiconductor Industry (半導體製造業空氣污染管制及排放標準) were released by the EPA on 4 May 2023. Striving for practical, independent, and precise management, the amendments included addition of new process emission standards, changing control of a factory's total emissions to control of concentrations of individual emission channels, strengthening independent monitoring, simplifying periodic inspections, and addressing current regulatory issues. The aim is to encourage newly built factories or new manufacturing processes to select facilities that have lower pollution emissions or are better at pollution controls, enhance the incentive for voluntary management by enterprises, and implement precise management of air pollution emissions.

The EPA stated that as a crucial industry in Taiwan, the semiconductor industry is not only experiencing a robust development but also undergoing rapid changes. Therefore, the attention given to its associated environmental protection issues is of great importance. Previously, the standard had a fixed limit of 0.6 kilograms/hour for a factory's total emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), regardless of a factory's scale. To reduce air pollutant emissions and make it more convenient for enterprises' operations of voluntary management, the revised standards adopted a more practical and stricter approach, where emissions from individual emission channels are not to exceed 14 ppm for VOCs and 0.5 ppm for acid gases (nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrofluoric acid, and sulfuric acid). Meanwhile, new emission standards have been introduced for new manufacturing processes, mandating that concentrations should not exceed 10 ppm for VOCs and 0.3 ppm for acid gases. This will help push new factories or manufacturing processes to choose facilities that are environmentally friendly or more effective at pollution control. The revised emission standards are expected to lead to a reduction of emissions of VOCs and acid gases by approximately 286 metric tons and 12 metric tons, respectively. The reduced emissions are equivalent to four months of emissions from an oil refinery.

In addition, revisions of the standard have simplified and integrated provisions relevant to inspections and testing under the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) so as to align with the announcement on 6 June 2022 regarding the stationary pollution sources in public and private venues that are required for regular testing and registration. Furthermore, emission sources with high emission concentrations and higher risks of pollution are now mandated to install relevant emission monitoring equipment in order to enhance voluntary management and effectively lower pollutant leakage and emission.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, May 2023

Ministry of Environment