Intel Plans $28 Billion Factory in Ohio to Accelerate Domestic Chip Manufacturing

Intel Plans $28 Billion Factory in Ohio to Accelerate Domestic Chip Manufacturing
A rendering of Intel's planned $US20 ($28) billion microchip production facility, currently scheduled to come online in 2025. (Image: Intel)

Intel will invest $US20 billion (around $28 billion) in a sprawling new processor manufacturing facility outside Columbus, Ohio, according to an announcement from the tech giant early Friday. The plant, billed as the single largest private-sector investment in Ohio’s history, is expected to create 3,000 jobs, based on the company’s projections, not including at least 7,000 temporary construction jobs.

Construction on the facility is scheduled to begin in late 2022, with production coming online around 2025. Intel is billing the first two plants as just the beginning of a much larger project on the roughly 1,000 acres the company has acquired in Licking County.

Intel has also pledged $US100 million ($139 million) in education funds for the region in an effort to create the workforce needed for the chip-making facility. The money will fund collaborative research projects with universities in the area, as well as help develop curricula specific to semiconductors for undergraduate programs.

The CEO of Intel, Pat Gelsinger, is scheduled to appear at the White House with President Joe Biden via video link to formally announce the project on Friday. The $US52 billion ($72 billion) CHIPS Act, which passed in the Senate but has stalled in the House, will likely provide funding for at least some of Intel’s long-term venture. The CHIPS Act is an attempt to spur chip-manufacturing in the U.S. to make the country less dependent on its adversary in the New Cold War, China.

“The impact of this mega-site investment will be profound,” Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations, said in a statement.

“A semiconductor factory is not like other factories. Building this semiconductor mega-site is akin to building a small city, which brings forth a vibrant community of supporting services and suppliers,” Esfarjani continued.

“Ohio is an ideal location for Intel’s U.S. expansion because of its access to top talent, robust existing infrastructure, and long history as a manufacturing powerhouse. The scope and pace of Intel’s expansion in Ohio, however, will depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act.”

Did you catch that last part? Intel will pony up for the first couple of factories, but if you really want to see a huge facility, the U.S. government will need to get the CHIPS Act done.

The company also says it expects other suppliers to pop up in the region to help support the new facility:

In addition to Intel’s presence in Ohio, the investment is expected to attract dozens of ecosystem partners and suppliers needed to provide local support for Intel’s operations – from semiconductor equipment and materials suppliers to a range of service providers. Investments made by these suppliers will not only benefit Ohio but will have a significant economic impact on the broader U.S. semiconductor ecosystem. As part of today’s announcement, Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology have indicated plans to establish a physical presence in the region to support the buildout of the site, with more companies expected in the future.

“Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership,” CEO Gelsinger said in a press release.

“Intel’s actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come,” Gelsinger continued. “Intel is bringing leading capability and capacity back to the United States to strengthen the global semiconductor industry.”

“These factories will create a new epicentre for advanced chipmaking in the U.S. that will bolster Intel’s domestic lab-to-fab pipeline and strengthen Ohio’s leadership in research and high tech.”