A Semiconductor Fabrication Center is Being Built in Arkansas, Will Be Open to the Public

A Semiconductor Fabrication Center is Being Built in Arkansas, Will Be Open to the Public Main Photo

8 Oct 2021


Arkansas is taking a big step forward for the advancement of the state’s technology sector. The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Arkansas $17.9 million to build a semiconductor fabrication center that will be operated by the university, but open to external researchers. Businesses can leverage the facility for designing, prototyping, testing and for demonstrations. Once built, it will be the only silicon carbide facility that allows for external researchers to come in. The rest are privately controlled or for university staff only. 

“Arkansas is a good state to do business and already known for our low-cost, high-value workforce. This has historically attracted manufacturing companies to our state. The development of the semiconductor fabrication facility opens doors to high-tech manufacturing companies conducting research here as well,” said J.D. Lowery, Manager, Community and Economic Development.

In a market where global shortages have created delays in the production of electronic products and even automobiles, having a facility that produces integrated circuits and sensors in Arkansas could help to alleviate this shortage for U.S. manufacturers. “Auto manufacturers in need of sensors or electronic components for their vehicles will be able to get them in Arkansas. Our state is conveniently located near OEMs so this is a true win-win for moving U.S. manufacturing forward,” said Lowery. “Of course, the automotive industry is just one industry heavily dependent on semiconductor fabrication. Video games, green energy, and the defense industry are just a few examples of industries who need this type of fabrication. With the new facility in place, these industries could be attracted to our state in greater numbers.” 

And the impact could be felt nationwide. University of Arkansas professor Alan Mantooth, told Arkansas Business, “The country that leads the world in advancing silicon carbide semiconductor design and fabrication will also lead the race to market nearly all new game-changing technologies, including those used by the military, as well as general electronic devices that are essential to our economy.” 

Featured Cooperative 

Ozarks Electric Cooperative, an Arkansas Electric Cooperative member, serves the Fayetteville region where the semiconductor fabrication facility will be likely be located. They provide reliable and affordable electricity and fiber optics. There are many benefits to locating in an area serviced by an electric cooperative. As a member-owned organization, cooperatives are in place to provide dependable services at lower rates than for-profit companies. Members are shareholders so instead of pricing services to provide a profit to shareholders, rates are reduced to make the cost of services more affordable for members throughout the year. Cooperatives are also on the forefront of infrastructure investment, having historically brought electricity, and now fiber optics, to underserved areas. Businesses benefit from this type of partnership, in that cooperatives may be willing to bring services to a site when for-profit companies may be unwilling to do so. 

Ozarks Electric Cooperative is just one of 17 cooperatives who are members of the Arkansas Electric family. These cooperatives all provide a high level of service and are happy to work with businesses to find solutions for their energy needs. To determine which cooperative services a site you are looking at, click here

Find a Site for Your Business in Arkansas

Arkansas Electric Cooperative is here to provide assistance with site selection, data gathering, and utility work. Contact J.D. Lowery for more information.