November 12, 2007
There is plenty of waste in industrial processes, and the world of computer manufacturing is no exception. A prime example of this are the silicon wafers used as starting materials for the production of chips by the computing industry. Every year, roughly 3.3 million silicon wafers are sent to landfills across the world to be crushed. Of course where some see waste, others see opportunity â” such as IBM, who just announced a new process to turn these silicon wafers into solar panels.
A silicon wafer is a thin disc of silicon material where patterns that make the chips for most of our electrical devices are printed upon. While most of these wafers are used, a percentage of them become damaged, or are simply excess silicon and are turned into waste. As these wafers contain the manufacturerâ™s intelectual property, they cannot be reused or recycled. That is, until IBM came to the rescue.
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