What are the Environmental Benefits of Semiconductors

Whether or not you realize it, you use semiconductors every day. In fact, you’re using one right now – to read this article on a computer screen or cellphone – because a semiconductor is one of the fundamental building blocks of all modern computer chips and circuit boards.

If you use air conditioning, own a washing machine, or watch television, you’re using a device with a semiconductor every time you turn on one of those appliances as well!

We often associate technology with pollution and environmental decay, but semiconductors have helped advance environmentally friendly technology. They are key components driving the “green energy” movement forward, playing a vital role in everything from the production of sustainable energy to revolutionizing industries that are associated with pollution, ozone decay, and groundwater poisoning.

How is this possible? We’ll begin by discussing what a semiconductor actually is and what it is capable of:

  1. What is a Semiconductor

The term “semiconductor” refers to any type of material used by electrical engineers whose conductive properties change when exposed to heat. This allows them to adapt to changes in demands for electricity in a way that regular conductors, usually copper, cannot. The most frequently used semiconductor material is silicone.

This ability comes in handy, because it allows it to regulate and control the flow of electricity used by a device. In other words, the amount of power consumed by that device will be limited to what it needs in those particular circumstances.

  1. What are the Environmental Benefits of Semiconductors

As mentioned prior, semiconductors are useful in regulating the amount of power that a device uses to operate based on its current power demands. But how is this beneficial to the environment? First of all, the lower electrical requirements of a semiconductor means that less resources have to be consumed in order to operate them.

They are also used in conjunction with batteries to store energy in photovoltaic solar panels, in wind turbines to convert and transmit power, and in electric vehicles to convert power stored inside of the vehicle’s battery into power for the motor.

Those are all examples of environmentally friendly technologies where semiconductors are at the forefront of the technology they operate, and are easy to spot. They also, however, serve a more subtle role when it comes to power management and operational efficiency in key industries like manufacturing, IoT, and logistics. They provide ways for these industries to increase production, better manage resources, improve worker safety, and optimize the usage of resources, helping those industries become more sustainable in small but important ways as well.

  1. Where to Learn More about Semiconductors

This article serves as only a brief introduction to semiconductors and their uses in creating and promoting environmentally friendly technology. It is not, by any means, an extensive list.

At onsemi.com, you can learn more semiconductors and their uses in machinery, where you might find them on a car, or how they’re used in manufacturing.

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