• GlobalFoundries runs a semiconductor facility in Essex Junction, Vermont, where it is reported to have a workforce exceeding 2,000 employees as of early 2022.
  • Upon the conclusion of construction, the company anticipates that its two facilities in New York will collectively possess an annual production capacity of 1 million wafers.

GlobalFoundries Inc. secured USD 1.5 billion in funding from the U.S. government to construct a new semiconductor fabrication facility and enhance two existing chip manufacturing plants.

The company recently disclosed the grant and will be delivered through the CHIPS and Science Act, a program distributing USD 52.7 billion in subsidies to the semiconductor industry. Intel Corp., with intentions to invest over USD 30 billion in new U.S. fabs, is anticipated to receive financial support through this legislation as well.

GlobalFoundries runs a chip facility in Essex Junction, Vermont, with a reported workforce of over 2,000 as of early 2022. A segment of the recently acquired USD 1.5 billion grant will be utilized to enhance the facility’s capacity. Furthermore, the company aims to transform this plant into the inaugural U.S. facility capable of large-scale production of gallium nitride chips.

In an atom, electrons revolve around the nucleus at various distances, and the variance between these distances is termed the bandgap. Gallium nitride possesses a broader bandgap compared to silicon. This characteristic enables chips made from gallium nitride to function at significantly higher voltages than traditional processors, making them more resilient to heat.

Due to their durability, gallium nitride semiconductors play a crucial role in the automotive industry, powering charging components for electric vehicles and being utilized in various car subsystems. GlobalFoundries asserts that gallium nitride chips produced at its Vermont facility will also be well-suited for challenging environments like electrical grids and data centers.

Another application for the technology is powering wireless networking equipment. An element of wireless networking systems, like cell towers, is a power amplifier, which amplifies the outgoing signal to increase connection reliability. Since amplifiers need to run at relatively high voltages, gallium nitride chips are frequently used instead of silicon ones to power them.

The USD 1.5 billion funding secured by GlobalFoundries will also support two additional fabrication projects, both centered around its current manufacturing campus in Malta, New York. This facility is reported to have the capacity to produce over 400,000 wafers’ worth of chips annually.

GlobalFoundries announced plans to incorporate “critical technologies” utilized in its Singapore and Germany plants into the facility. This upgrade, as detailed by the company, will predominantly cater to the needs of customers in the automotive sector. In the last quarter, the automotive sector contributed 17% of GlobalFoundries’ revenue, a significant increase from 5% a year prior.

As outlined by the company, the latest project involves constructing a second fab on the campus where its Malta plant is located. This new facility will produce chips for various markets, including automotive, aerospace, defense, and artificial intelligence segments. GlobalFoundries emphasized a “fast and efficient path from construction to production,” citing the existing infrastructure at the Malta campus that supports fabrication operations.

Upon completion of construction, the company anticipates that its two plants in New York will possess a joint production capacity of 1 million wafers per year. This accounts for almost half the number of wafers processed annually across GlobalFoundries’ entire manufacturing network. In the next decade, the company aims to triple the capacity of the Malta campus.

In addition to the USD 1.5 billion in direct funding earmarked for the projects, GlobalFoundries has also secured access to loans totaling USD 1.6 billion. The company anticipates that these planned investments will generate 1,500 manufacturing jobs and 9,000 construction jobs.

Thomas Caulfield, Chief Executive Officer of GlobalFoundries, said, “These proposed investments, along with the investment tax credit (ITC) for semiconductor manufacturing, are central to the next chapter of the GlobalFoundries story and our industry. They will also play an important role in making the U.S. semiconductor ecosystem more globally competitive and resilient and cements the New York Capital Region as a global semiconductor hub.”

In addition, Intel anticipates receiving funding under the CHIPS Act for the new fabs it is constructing in the United States. According to a report by Bloomberg over the weekend, the chipmaker is looking for grants and loans totaling over USD 10 billion. Recently, Intel intended to release information about its foundry business. Over 100 other semiconductor industry participants have also applied for the CHIPS ACT Funding.