Semiconductor Giant Invests in ABQ Water Purification Firm

Photo Credit : Aqua Membranes via ABQ Journal

April 24th, 2021 – Aqua Membrane’s novel water-filtration technology could soon help Micron Technology Inc. significantly lower water and energy consumption throughout the semiconductor’s global manufacturing operations. Idaho-based Micron, a publicly traded giant in the semiconductor industry, announced a joint investment Thursday in the local water-purification company in partnership with Boston-based Clean Energy Ventures. The companies didn’t disclose the amount committed, but Aqua Membranes CEO Craig Beckman said it will help speed the startup’s efforts to adapt its technology for use in the semiconductor industry and other industrial markets. Aqua Membrane’s filtration product allows users to pump a lot more water at much lower cost through home, commercial and industrial purification systems. That can immensely cut down on the amount of water used in manufacturing, while significantly reducing energy consumption to purify, manage and move water through systems. “Micron uses a lot of water, so it’s very focused on re-use and conservation,” Beckman said. “It’s pushing hard to adapt new technologies for more sustainable, high-purity water production.” Micron ranks as the world’s fourth-largest semiconductor manufacturer. It’s focused on memory and storage products for data management, employing about 40,000 people at 13 manufacturing sites and 14 laboratories in 17 countries. Its global operations consume about 55 million cubic feet of water per year, equivalent to annual consumption of about 450,000 U.S. households, said Micron Director of Sustainability Marshall Chase. “We need a lot of ultra-pure water to manufacture semiconductors, and we often operate in water-constrained environments,” Chase told the Journal. “… Aqua Membranes’ technology can help us manage, reduce and limit our water footprint.” The company recently launched a yearslong sustainability strategy to invest up to $1 billion in water- and non-carbon energy-saving production, encouraging the new partnership with Aqua Membranes, said Micron Director of Venture Capital Andrew Byrnes.