Paul van Gerven
1 May 2023

Chipmakers STMicroelectronics and Globalfoundries have gained the European Commission’s approval to build a 7.4-billion-euro FD-SOI fab with state aid from France. Once operating at full capacity by 2027, the facility at Crolles will process 620,000 300mm wafers per year, targeting automotive, industrial, 5G/6G, security, defense and space applications. This will “strengthen Europe’s security of supply, resilience and digital sovereignty in semiconductor technologies,” the EC says in a statement.

CEA Leti cleanroom
Credit: Andréa Aubert/CEA

The approval requires ST and GF to give priority to European orders in case of a supply shortage, continue the development of new generations of FD-SOI technology and make available some capacity for SMEs and other parties to test and develop their products in a real industrial environment. The latter condition aims to further strengthen the European semiconductor system by facilitating R&D activities.

The EC statement doesn’t say how much state aid is involved. The European Chip Act, which was recently signed into law, allows member states to fund up to 40 percent of the investment.