Skip to content(if available)orjump to list(if available)

Micron picks Syracuse for computer chip plant that would bring up to 9k jobs


> The manufacturing complex could consume up to 10 million gallons of water per day, enough to supply a whole town or village. The entire city of Syracuse, by comparison, uses an average of 40 million gallons per day.

We have a lot of water in the area, and foundries are very water intensive. That was a smart long term play of Micron. Very happy to hear about this.


I feel these numbers are always a bit misleading. Sure the processes takes 10 million gallons a day, but much of that water can be reclaimed and recirculated.

> “Conventional treatment of wastewater at semiconductor plants had recycled anywhere from 40 percent to 70 percent of water used in their processes,” explains Govindan. “Some manufacturers still only recycle 40 percent of the water they use.”

> However, over the past two years Gradiant has been working with semiconductor plants, improving their water reuse so that they're able to recycle 98 percent of the water they use. So, instead of bringing in 10 million gallons of freshwater a day from outside, these new recycling technologies mean they need to draw only 200,000 gallons of water from outside the plant to operate.


Gradiant has this cool scheme (from MIT) for distilling water using a carrier gas. The special sauce was a "bubble tray condenser" that condenses water from the carrier gas by bubbling it through trays of progressively cooler water. This provides enormous surface area to get around the problem of mass transfer through the boundary layer.


Yes, it's basically like an indoor swimming pool. It takes a lot of water to initially fill it, but they clean and reuse most of it.


They use hydrofluoric acid to balance the pH, then go skinny dipping.


I also can't take those numbers seriously, since I once saw a documentary about coffee... And they calculated the water of a small river nearby that was partly redirected to wash away the shells of the coffee beans.


Wouldn’t the upper range, 70% recycled water, still be 3,000,000 gallons of water / day?


This is why it seems so odd to me that companies including both Intel and TSMC keep setting up shop in Arizona of all places. At least NY has ample rainfall and borders two Great Lakes.


Low sesimic activity. You want the FAB to run 24/7 even if that means trucking in expensive water. Any down time will absolutely wipe out any cost savings from cheaper water. Probably even easier still to invest some extra capital to recycle more water.


What sesimic activity occurs in upstate ny?


I know chips need to be cleaned with ultra pure water - but 10 million gallons?!

That sounds like a lot. It's like 20 Olympic swimming pools - 30 acre feet of water... That's about how much 7500 acres of farmland uses per day - a decent portion of which is actually just rain...

Is there an easy way to understand why they need THAT much water?

IIUC, there's about ~600 chips per wafer (depends on chip and wafer size), and a plant produces ~30,000 wafers per month. That's ~18M chips per month, or ~600,000 per day.

So each chip needs ~17 gallons of water?! These chips are TINY - like not even a cubic inch. Volumetrically, that's like 5000x as much water.



I hope Micron got their tax agreements in triplicate and signed in both ink and blood, I wouldn't trust NY state without mithril-clad contracts.


Any idea why it would require this much water?


It gets ultrapurified and used to wash _everything_ all the time, lots of steps are chemically nasty and need to be completely gone before production proceeds.


Can they recycle it on site?


This video from YouTube talks a bit about it.


Funny how the factory "consumes" water, while the city only "uses" it.


Does the effluent have different outcomes?


Factory might be recycling, city probably just treats and puts back into the environment (just a guess but doubt they are recycling water in NY).


How weird to see this on HN, I just bought a house 8 minutes down the road from the chosen site. It's completely unrelated, this is the first I've seen this news.


Even more unrelated to the topic, but check out if you want to get connected with the local tech scene (and Slack channel)!


Next time you eat a coney at Heid’s please say a prayer for prepend.


Welcome to the area! Hope you like snow. :)


I got married in Cazenovia. Love that region!


That sounds like a mythical place hah, I grew up on the otherside of the lake in Toronto!


I wouldn’t want to live next to a chip foundry personally. Any type of of large industrial operation is going to pollute the air. Check out this interactive map about the likelihood of cancer [1]. Living in areas with high industrial air pollution is highly correlated with cancer.



> Any type of of large industrial operation

The dataset you linked to doesn't seem to show any of the chip fabs already operating in the US. Do you have any reason to believe that chip fabs (as they are run these days) are major polluters on par with other industries?


These are the EPA limits for semiconductor fabs:

You’re free to live wherever you choose.




I hope this doesn't turn out like Foxconn in Mount Pleasant WI.



I was just surprised at how cheap housing was in Syracuse. Maybe it's time to buy before interest rates get even worse.


It's cheap because it's an awful place to live. You can work in insurance, or hospitality, or for terrible wages in "tech", aka making CRUD apps or doing IT for the aforementioned industries. State taxes are super high and a huge burden. The weather is awful for all but 1-2 weeks in the spring and 1-2 weeks in the fall (hot and humid in the summer, extremely cold and windy in the winter). Schools are generally terrible.

There's a reason housing is cheap and there is a net population outflow out of NYS.


I can’t speak to Syracuse itself, but some of the suburban areas around Syracuse are pretty nice and have very good schools. For example, Fayetteville-Manlius High School is ranked #807 in the entire US:

My wife is from the area and I’ve been there dozens of times. It’s not as happening as a major city, but if you wanted to live in an affordable suburb outside a large-enough city, it would be a fine place to live.


As a parent of kids in the FM district (and an FM graduate myself), it is indeed a fantastic district for most kids. If your kids need any sort of supporting services though, there are much better options in the area. FM fights pretty hard to avoid providing any kind of services.

That being said, there is a _lot_ of privilege in my complaint here. There are plenty of schools in less affluent areas where the idea of even requesting services would be laughable; there just aren't the resources to provide them. FM is frustrating because it _has_ the money, but fights hard to avoid using it.


You didn’t even mention the weather which in my opinion is the worst part of living that far north.


Personally, the weather variety is one of the things I _like_ about the Syracuse area. I get bored very quickly when I have to spend time in places like California (or the southwest in general).


> The weather is awful for all but 1-2 weeks in the spring and 1-2 weeks in the fall (hot and humid in the summer, extremely cold and windy in the winter).

I did. It's less about how far north, and a lot to do with the lake effect snow the area gets.


It’s an interesting area. It has the opportunity to really bloom but has a couple issues. Climate sucks, it’s cold even for Northeastern standards. The cities all have urban issues like crime, not many upstate cities have really become cute and desirable. That’s mostly the smaller or mid sized towns.


I grew up nearby. Being just downwind of Lake Ontario, Syracuse gets 10 feet of snow per winter. [0] If you're susceptible to seasonal depression, it's a rough place to live. Just 50 miles south (around Ithaca / Elmira / Binghamton), the winters get milder, still dark but less cold and snow.

For decades, the region has wanted for STEM employment opportunities. (It's the rust belt, a lot of industry moved away.) I get the impression Rochester weathered it better than Syracuse, even after the downfall of Kodak. Rochester feels a little more vibrant to visit. That said, to the extent Micron is willing to train people, I imagine they'll have an easier time hiring in Syracuse than a lot of other places.



As a reference, Boston averages 60 inches, which would put it at the lowest scale on this map. So, even the milder regions are still quite cold and snowy!


This seemed like an odd choice - having a chip plant in a small, beautiful tourist town. Then I clicked the link and boom - it's another place with the same name.


You're thinking of the original one in Sicily?

It's sometimes confusing how Americans repurposed city names wholesale without the "New" prefix. Most of them are tiny towns, as for example Paris, Texas made famous by the movie.

Of the larger ones, St Petersburg, Florida always weirds me out — it makes me think of Lenin giving a speech at Finland Station under palm trees, dressed in a white suit like Don Johnson.


My favorite is near where I grew up - Versailles, Kentucky. Pronounced ver-SAILS.


> Most of them are tiny towns

They were all tiny towns when they were first named.


dissapointed to see expansion in a high tax blue state with a trash tier record on gun rights. i can't find any mention of why they chose it, any ideas why?

edit: looks like water and seismic activity are the leading suggestions?


It shouldn’t surprise you that economic activity is focused in a blue state. Blue states (even at a county level) have the strongest economies and red states are the welfare babies, on average.


I doubt gun rights are high on the list when embarking on $100B chip fab builds.


And that’s pretty weird that a company would set up shop with no regards to the human rights of its employees.


idk i've heard a lot of noise on companies paying for female employees to get abortions if they're unavailable in-state and imo it's a pretty good benefit in states with overly draconian laws. so i'm sort of hoping micron (and other companies who choose to expand in states that infringe on people's freedom) will announce a similar program to help employees access and exercise their gun rights.


Are gun rights particularly related or is this just an axe to grind?


Where's the logic here? Encouraging employees to abort their babies is in a company's economic interests so that's hardly a surprise. What makes you think gun ownership and use would be beneficial to them?




Probably a combination of water, seismic activity is not to bad, and blue states generally have better education systems and an easier time attracting educated people. Also NY has been trying to grow the economy in the area, they probably provided attractive incentives.

FWIW, I think NYC is more restrictive than NY state on the gun stuff. At least I know some avid hunters from rural NY, I don't think they have any issues getting hunting rifles, maybe they had to fill out some paperwork or something.


NY State is horrible for gun owners. The only difference between Upstate and downstate is that upstate prosecutors and county police openly violate and refuse the enforce the gun laws since they are so egregious.

Of course, in classic New York fashion the laws are still weaponized against minority groups and local enemies of the county government, which is precisely the reason they were introduced a century ago.


NYS is overall absolutely terrible for gun stuff. Hunting rifles and shotguns are easy, but the current process for purchasing anything semi-automatic and/or a handgun in very onerous. Over a year wait in most counties, years long residency requirements, you have to give up your social media accounts, submit various notarized statements, in-person interviews, etc. If I have a NYS CCW and you don't, I cannot legally take you to a range (or my backyard) and let you try out shooting a handgun. You need to go through the entire permit process before you can touch a handgun inside of NYS. And if you're not a NYS resident? No permit for you, they don't grant them to non-residents.

It's easier to buy handguns in most European countries than in NYS, and that's not a good thing. The entire process is made to be incredibly time consuming, expensive and frustrating, enough that most people will just give up and not do it.


That sounds like a reasonable set of policies, to be honest. Easy to get the kind of gun you would want as an ordinary working tool in the countryside or for home defense. Difficult and time-consuming to get the kind of gun you would want for a mass murder.


Don’t forget that Nassau county, NY is now requesting that people who upgrade their pistol licenses pee in a cup to test for drugs. True insanity in NYS.


While NY might be "trash tier" on gun rights, it's "S tier" on firearm related mortality... Wonder if those things are related...?

To answer your actual question though, the major reasons are access to cheap water (Lake Ontario), cheap housing, cheap/green power (lots of hydro and nuclear in the area), and low seismic activity. The location they selected also has quick access to both I-90 and I-81, the major east/west and north/south routes through the state.

The whole "blue state" thing also helps (blue states invest more in education, infrastructure, etc)


As a lifelong New Yorker who spent some time in Syracuse it’s bizarre to see. It’s a super sparse area with not much to offer.

Onondaga county is pretty decent on gun rights with regards to issuing pistol licenses quickly and having pro gun judges approve them, but you’re still within NYS which is a major headache. Would be better for companies to abandon the state altogether.


Dude, like what's your issue?

They've been in ruby red Idaho for like 30 years now.

Edit: Actually they've been in Idaho since 1978. So 44 years now.