California-based global chipmaking giant, Intel, announced the first phase of its plans to invest nearly €80B in the European Union over the next decade along the entire semiconductor value chain – from research and development (R&D) to manufacturing to packaging technologies.
The company reports that it plans to invest an initial €17B into a semiconductor fab mega-site in Germany, create a new R&D and design hub in France, and invest in R&D, manufacturing and foundry services in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain.
The funds will also help Intel to bring its most advanced technology to Europe, creating a next-generation European chip ecosystem and addressing the need for a more balanced and resilient supply chain.
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, says, “Our planned investments are a major step both for Intel and for Europe. The EU Chips Act will empower private companies and governments to work together to drastically advance Europe’s position in the semiconductor sector. This broad initiative will boost Europe’s R&D innovation and bring leading-edge manufacturing to the region for the benefit of our customers and partners around the world. We are committed to playing an essential role in shaping Europe’s digital future for decades to come.”
A major expansion in Europe
The investment will be centred around balancing the global semiconductor supply chain with a major expansion of Intel’s production capacities in Europe.
In the initial phase, Intel plans to develop two first-of-their-kind semiconductor fabs in Magdeburg, Germany, the capital of Saxony-Anhalt. Planning will start immediately, with construction expected to begin in the first half of 2023 and production planned to come online in 2027, pending European Commission approval.
The new fabs will deliver chips using Intel’s advanced, Angstrom-era transistor technologies, serving the needs of both foundry customers and Intel for Europe, and globally as part of the company’s IDM (integrated device manufacturer) 2.0 strategy.
Intel believes Germany is an ideal place to establish a new hub for advanced chipmaking. The chipmaker plans to initially invest €17B, creating 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the build, 3,000 permanent high-tech jobs at Intel, and tens of thousands of additional jobs across suppliers and partners.
The new site will be referred to as Silicon Junction. This Silicon Junction will serve as the connection point for other centres of innovation and manufacturing across the country and region.
Besides, the company will also continue investment in its Leixlip, Ireland, expansion project, spending an additional €12B and doubling the manufacturing space to bring Intel 4 process technology to Europe and expand foundry services. Once complete, this expansion will bring Intel’s total investment in Ireland to more than €30B.
The Italy negotiation
Intel and Italy have entered into negotiations to enable a back-end manufacturing facility and will invest up to €4.5B. This factory would create about 1,500 Intel jobs and an additional 3,500 jobs across suppliers and partners, with operations to start between 2025 and 2027.
Intel and Italy aim to make this facility a first of its kind in the EU with new and innovative technologies. This would be in addition to the foundry innovation and growth opportunities Intel expects to pursue in Italy based on its planned acquisition of Tower Semiconductor. Tower has a significant partnership with STMicroelectronics, which has a fab in Agrate Brianza, Italy.
In total, Intel plans to spend more than €33B on these manufacturing investments. By increasing its manufacturing capacities across the EU, Intel would lay the groundwork to bring various parts of the semiconductor value chain closer together and increase supply chain resiliency in Europe.
Strengthening Europe’s innovation capabilities
Supporting the innovation cluster with additional investments in R&D and linking them to Intel’s manufacturing plans will boost the circle of innovation in Europe, including providing SMEs better access to technologies.
Here is Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President, speaking on Intel’s EU Investment Plans.
Around Plateau de Saclay, France, Intel plans to build its new European R&D hub, creating 1,000 new high-tech jobs at Intel, with 450 jobs available by the end of 2024. France will become Intel’s European headquarters for high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) design capabilities.
In addition, Intel plans to establish its main European foundry design centre in France, offering design services and design collateral to French, European and worldwide industry partners and customers.
In Gdansk, Poland, Intel is increasing its lab space by 50 per cent with a focus on developing solutions in the fields of deep neural networks, audio, graphics, data centre, and cloud computing. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2023.
These investments will further strengthen Intel’s relationships with European research institutes across the continent, including IMEC in Belgium, Technical University Delft in the Netherlands, CEA-Leti in France, and the Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany.
Intel is also developing partnerships in Italy with Leonardo, INFN and CINECA to explore advanced new solutions in HPC, memory, software programming models, security and cloud.
Over the past decade in Spain, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and Intel have been collaborating on exascale architecture. Now, they are developing zettascale architecture for the next decade. The supercomputing centre and Intel plan to establish joint labs in Barcelona to advance computing.
Intel in EU
Intel has been present in Europe for more than 30 years and currently employs around 10,000 people throughout the EU. In the past two years, the company has spent more than €10B with European suppliers. As Intel works to rebalance silicon supply globally, that spend is expected to nearly double by 2026.
Intel’s investment plans will accelerate chip design capabilities, boost the European material and equipment supplier industry, and serve the strong customer base across industries in Europe.
EU Chips Act: to regain global leadership in semiconductors
EU’s international partners are investing heavily in the semiconductor industry, which they believe is essential for industries, economies and societies. To this, the EU says, “Europe cannot stand still and watch these opportunities pass by. It’s time we join the race.”
According to the EU, Europe holds very good cards as it has an “excellent” research base. The IMEC Research Institute in Leuven is where researchers are already engraving 1.4-nanometer silicon wafers. However, the EU needs to help this innovation reach industrialisation.
The “Chips for Europe” initiative will finance strategic infrastructure – pilot lines and a design platform – to test and industrialise processes. And create new applications for connected cars, health sector, telecommunication, defence and security.
These infrastructures will be open to all players, of large or small scale, European or international. To this end, the EU will invest €11B until 2030 by pooling EU and Member State budgets.