BOC Edwards, in conjunction with its Taiwan joint venture partner, BOC Lien Hwa (BOCLH), has begun work on the next phase of expansion of its nitrogen production and pipeline distribution network.

The cost of the project, which is located in the Hsinchu Science Park in northern Taiwan, is more than US $30m.

"This pipeline network, which has been an integral part and an enabler of the successful growth of advanced semiconductor manufacturing in Hsinchu since 1988, supplies ultra-high purity nitrogen to more than 20 advanced wafer fabrication facilities within the park," said Neels Kriek, managing director of materials and services for BOC Edwards.

"With a currently installed capacity of more than 100,000 Nm3 per hour of nitrogen, and more than 20km of underground pipelines, this system forms the largest high purity gas distribution network in Taiwan," he concluded.

The capacity of the network has grown steadily over the past 18 years, keeping pace with the rapid development of the Taiwan semiconductor industry and the increasing gas consumption demands of each new generation of wafer fab investment. To ensure that demand can be met in the future, BOC Edwards, in its latest expansion, has begun construction of its largest ever semiconductor grade nitrogen generator, which will add a capacity of 35,000 Nm3 per hour.

"BOC Edwards is proud of the role that we, together with our partner BOCLH, have played in the growth of the Hsinchu Science Park, which has been the foundation of Taiwan\\$quot;s leading position in the global semiconductor industry today," said Kriek.

With a total of nine plants currently running in the park and a cross-linked grid of underground pipelines, the system provides unmatched levels of supply security\\$quot;”a critical requirement for semiconductor manufacturers.