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SK ecoplant jumps into ultrapure water business to reduce reliance on foreign companies

By Lim Chang-won Posted : October 19, 2022, 14:49 Updated : October 19, 2022, 14:49

[Courtesy of SK ecoplant]

SEOUL -- SK ecoplant, a major waste management company affiliated with South Korea's SK Group, jumped into the production of ultrapure water, which is in high demand in the semiconductor industry,  through cooperation with a domestic company. The partnership will help reduce South Korea's reliance on Japanese and other foreign companies.

SK ecoplant said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with HTS in the operation of ultrapure water facilities and business development. HTS has technology related to ultrapure water, or highly purified water, which is treated to the highest levels of purity by removing organic particles and dissolved gases for use in the semiconductor industry and electronics manufacturing.  

"SK ecoplant will build an industrial water business value chain, including ultrapure water, beyond sewage and wastewater treatment," SK ecoplant CEO Park Kyung-il said in a statement on October 19. The two companies would jointly participate in water treatment projects, exchange technologies and foster professional manpower, and expand the scope of collaboration by establishing a joint venture. 

HTS is in charge of the design, construction, and maintenance of ultrapure water systems at semiconductor companies. South Korea has relied on Japanese and other foreign companies to produce and supply ultrapure industrial water. Since Japan imposed trade restrictions in July 2019, South Korean firms have tried hard to localize key industrial materials used for the production of semiconductors and displays.

The environment ministry has tied up with K-Water, a state water resource development and management agency, and the state-funded Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) to develop technologies such as ultraviolet oxidation devices and gas removal membranes. The construction of a demonstration plant capable of producing 2,400 tons of ultrapure water a day began in November 2021 for completion in 2025 at the factory of SK siltron, the manufacturer of semiconductor wafers in the southern industrial city of Gumi.

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