GF to get $1.5B from CHIPS Act for new NY fab, two fab upgrades

GlobalFoundries won a preliminary grant of $1.5 billion and $1.6 billion in loans under the CHIPS Act, US officials announced Monday, with the award to be split between a new 300mm fab in Malta, New York, and two other projects in New York and Vermont.

The funding, as well as an investment tax credit for chip manufacturing, “are central to the next chapter of the GlobalFoundries story and our industry,” said GF CEO Thomas Caulfield, in a statement. He and executives from Intel and Micron have been among the most vocal US executives pushing for strengthening US-based chip fabs to strengthen the supply chain.

GF, especially, has a history as a defense supplier of chips. The overall GF expansion with the grants and loans will help US economic and national security by increasing capacity and onshoring technologies in the US for the first time that are especially important to defense and intelligence community, US officials said. GF has multiple factories designated as Trusted Foundries by the Department of Defense and the funding “is expected to strengthen those ties,” CHIPS for America, a part of NIST within the Commerce Department, said in a statement.

DOD relies on GF chips for various defense uses including satellite and space communications and for the  James Web telescope and the International Space Station.

The new 300mm fab will produce tech not currently available in the US, while part of the remainder of the $1.5 grant would go to expansion of an existing facility in Malta, NY, as part of a strategic deal with GM for automotive chips. The new fab and the expanded fab will triple the capacity of the Malta campus over 10 years to increase annual wafer production to 1 million. 

The grant will also support revitalization of a fab in Burlington, Vermont, to commercialize new 200mm water technologies. It would be the first US facility for high-volume production of next generation Gallium Nitride on Silicon for use in electric vehicles, power grid, 5G and 6G smartphones and other tech. An onsite solar energy system is planned there to supply 9% of the sites’ annual electricity.

Federal officials said the projects will generate 1,500 manufacturing jobs and 9,000 construction jobs over the next 10 years.   With grants, loans and private investment, the potential total investment for BF is $12.5 billion.

The $1.5 billiion proposed grant is the largest of three grants issues so far with previous grants to Microchip Technology and BAE Systems. Intel and Micron are lined up for even larger grants.  TSMC, based in Taiwan, and Samsung, based in South Korea, have also proposed large fab projects in the US.

In response to the GF awards, the Semiconductor Industry Association commended the GF grant. “The CHIPS Act is working…” SIA said in a statement. The CHIPS Act, signed into law in 2022, includes $53 billion, including $11 billion for R&D and workforce development and $39 billion for grants.  Earlier in February, $5 billion in CHIPS Act funds was authorized for research at a new National Semiconductor Technology Center.

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