Intel reveals European expansion plans

Intel reveals European expansion plans

Intel yesterday announced plans to expand silicone chip production in Europe, revealing that it is set to invest up to $88 billion (€80 billion) over the next decade to build new facilities in Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. Yesterday’s announcement is a continuation of the company’s strategy to support the European Chips Act goal of locating 20% of the world’s microchip production in Europe by 2030.

In the first phase of the expansion plan, Intel revealed that it hopes to break ground in the first half of 2023 on the “silicon junction”, thus establishing two new fabs in Magdeburg, Germany, with production to begin in 2027 pending European Commission approval, for a total investment of $19 billion (€17 billion). The project is expected to create 7,000 construction jobs during the building stage while also delivering 3,000 permanent positions at Intel as well as tens of thousands of jobs across suppliers and partners.

Intel plans to build its main European foundry design center in France, in addition to a European R&D hub around Plateau de Saclay, with a focus on high performance computing and artificial intelligence design capabilities. Intel has stated that it expects this project to create 1,000 new positions at Intel and targets the end of 2024 for France becoming Intel’s European headquarters for high performance computing and AI design.

The company also announced that its expansion project in Leixlip, Ireland will continue with another $13 billion (€12 billion) worth of investments, thereby doubling current manufacturing space and bringing total investment in Ireland to $33 billion (€30 billion).

The company also disclosed that it is in negotiations to construct a back-end manufacturing facility in Italy, with an investment up to $4.9 billion (€4.5 billion) and with operations planned to begin between 2025 and 2027. The Italian project is expected to create 1500 Intel jobs and 3,500 jobs across suppliers and partners. This development is seen as being a complement to Intel’s recent acquisition of Tower Semiconductor and Tower’s partnership with STMicroelectronic’s fab in Agrate Brianza, Italy. The company also announced that it would be creating new partnerships with Leonardo, INFN and CINECA.

Intel’s European expansion will also reach Eastern Europe with lab space in Gdansk, Poland set to be increased by 50%, with the expansion expected to complete in 2023. The new lab capacity has been designed with a view to developing solutions for deep neural networks, audio, graphics, data centers and cloud computing.

Intel also revealed that it plans to build joint labs in Barcelona, Spain with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, to develop zettascale architecture technology.

The good news was not restricted to the creation of new jobs as Intel also announced that it will power all its new European sites with 100% renewable energy and zero total landfill waste, and work toward meeting net positive water use in keeping with Intel’s 2030 sustainability goals.

Intel’s announcement of its European expansion plans closely follows on from its recent announcement concerning its $20 billion investment in a new fab site outside of Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio fab site and the European expansion illustrate the company’s determination to overcome the silicon semiconductor shortage problems that have bedeviled the supply chain sector.