Hydrogen is used in the deposition of epitaxial silicon films on wafers, and the industrial gas complex in New Orleans is the site of much of Air Products’ hydrogen manufacturing activity, iSuppli said. These films are critical in the manufacturing of higher-voltage semiconductors used in power management applications, iSuppli said.
“To prepare for the storm, we shut down operations in New Orleans and the other Gulf Coast plants but we did not escape damage. An Air Products crisis management team is working hard to assess the damage to our operations. Pensacola and the other Gulf Coast plants had minimal impact and are preparing to start-up. The New Orleans site was heaviest hit by the storm. The full extent of the damage to the New Orleans facilities is unknown at this time,” said John Jones, chief executive officer of Air Products, in a statement posted to Air Products website.
The timing of the New Orleans plants’ restart will depend on the availability of power, utilities, communications, infrastructure access and the extent of the damage.
Alternative purification techniques are being implemented by silicon manufacturers to allow lower grades of hydrogen gas to be used for making silicon and epitaxial films and other suppliers of electronic-grade hydrogen are increasing their output to compensate for the shortfall, iSuppli said.