In view of the prosperous development of the semiconductor manufacturing industry in recent years and the continuous innovation of production technologies and process equipment, the Environmental Protection Administration (hereinafter, the “EPA”) of the Executive Yuan pre-announced on February 18, 2023 the draft Amendments to the Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards for Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry (hereinafter, the “Draft”) to take into account environmental protection and production capacity flexibility, and to pursue reasonable air pollution prevention and control standards. The Draft is highlighted below:
1. The air pollution emission standard was adjusted from a “total emission standard” to an “individual emission pipe concentration standard.”
Pursuant to Article 4 of the current Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards for the Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry, the total emissions of factory air pollutants should not exceed a specific value, and the EPA believes that this unified total emission standard ignores the differences in factory size, unduly restricts the flexibility of factory capacity management, and also makes it difficult for the competent authorities to conduct monitoringoperations. Therefore, the Draft changes the “total emission standard” to an “individual emission pipe concentration standard” and requires that the concentration of pollutants from factory emissions shall not exceed the specified limit.
2. New plants and manufactoring processes are urged to adopt more effective air pollution prevention solutions.
With the evolution of production technologies and process equipment, environmental awareness is also gradually on the rise. In order to urge new plants and manufacturing processes to adopt more effective air pollution prevention solutions, Article 4 of the Draft requires new manufacturing processes to meet more stringent air pollution control standards than existing manufacturing processes, and to treat air polluted by volatile organic compounds and specific acid compounds with more efficient pollution prevention equipment. Specifically, plant exhaust gas must meet the following standards before it can be emitted:
|Applicable Target||Air Pollutants||Emission Standard|
|Existing manufacturing processes||Volatile organic compounds||The emission reduction rate should reach 90% or the emission concentration should be no more than 14 ppm (using methane as the basis of calculation).|
|Nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrofluoric acid, and sulfuric acid.||The emission reduction rate should reach 95% or the emission concentration should be no more than 0.5 ppm.|
|New manufacturing processes||Volatile organic compounds||The emission reduction rate should reach 95 % or the emission concentration should be no more than 10 ppm (using methane as the basis of calculation).|
|Nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrofluoric acid, and sulfuric acid||The emission reduction rate should reach 96% or the emission concentration should be no more than 0.3 ppm.|
3. The rules for the installation of flowmeters and automatic monitoring devices are adjusted.
Pursuant to Article 5 of the Draft, manufacturers subject to the following conditions shall install flowmeters and automatic monitoring devices in the exhaust gas inlet or emission pipe outlet of the pollution prevention equipment where the concentration exceeds the standard:
(1) The annual usage quantity of a volatile organic material (substance) is greater than 25 tons or the total emissions of the plant is greater than 0.6 kg per hour; and
(2) Existing manufacturing processes have emission pipes where the concentration of volatile organic compounds is greater than 14 ppm or a new manufacturing process has an emission pipe where the emission concentration of volatile organic compounds is greater than 10 ppm.
The following should be noted: The Draft provides for consistent preconditions for installing flowmeters and automatic monitoring devices, and no longer distinguishes the respective installation scenarios for flowmeters and automatic monitoring devices. In addition, if the annual usage quantity of a volatile organic material (substance) of a plant is greater than a specified threshold, the plant is required to install a monitoring device, and the threshold is lowered from the original annual usage quantity of 50 tons to 25 tons. In other words, in accordance with the provisions of the Draft, a factory with an annual usage quantity in excess of 25 tons is required to set up flowmeters and automatic monitoring devices in the emission pipes with an emission concentration that exceeds the standard.
Taiwan has recently been actively advocating ESG and corporate sustainable development. In particular, the EPA’s draft Amendments to the Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards for the Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry have adjusted air pollution emission standards, monitoring device installation standards, and other details, which can be considered as part of sustainable development. Relevant operators are advised to pay attention to the progress of the Draft, and review existing manufacturing processes and plan new manufacturing processes in a timely manner to ensure that both corporate development and environmental requirements are taken into account.
 They refer to semiconductor manufacturing processes that have been completed, are currently under construction, or have completed the tendering process or have entered into an engineering contract without going through the tendering process before the date of the promulgation of this draft.(Article 2, Subparagraph 9 of the Draft).
 This refers to an emission reduction percentage of air pollutants after treatment by pollution prevention equipment (Article 2, Subparagraph 8 of the Draft).
 They include semiconductor manufacturing processes established as of the implementation date of this Draft and existing semiconductor manufacturing process that meet the conditions for change as stipulated in Article 4 of the “ Stationary Pollution Source Installation, Operating and Fuel Use Permit Management Regulations Amended Clauses” (Article 2, Subparagraph 10 of the Draft)
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