Intel begins groundwork on Magdeburg chip fab despite 13 remaining regulatory and environmental objections

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel's Fab 29 near Magdeburg, Germany, is expected to be one of the largest and most advanced fabs in Europe when it comes online later this decade. However, the project has faced multiple obstacles, first due to postponed subsidy approval by the European Union, and then by some perplexing black soil removal process. HardwareLuxx reports that at the recent hearings, it transpired that environmental associations and municipalities had 13 objections to the project remaining, delaying formal approval of the project. Nevertheless, Intel's groundwork can now begin, says the report.

A recent administrative office hearing discussed 13 objections from environmental groups and municipalities. Because some decisions are still pending, this means the full project approval is not yet secured. Additionally, billions in EU subsidies have yet to be finalized. Despite these hurdles, initial construction measures have been greenlit, allowing Intel to begin groundwork, specifically excavation. If the project fails or final approval is not granted, Intel is obligated to return the site to its original condition. 

Fab 29.1 and Fab 29.2 will span roughly 81,000 square meters, with a combined length of 530 meters and a width of 153 meters. Including roof structures for air conditioning and heating, the buildings will reach a height of 36.7 meters, with several underground floors as well. The cross-section plans show multiple above-ground floors with heights ranging from 5.7 to 6.5 meters. 

Initially, construction of Intel's Fab 29 was scheduled to begin in the first half of 2023, but delays in subsidy approvals pushed the start to the summer of 2024. Recently it turned out that construction of Intel's Fab 29 modules 1 and 2 near Magdeburg, Germany, has been delayed to May 2025 due to the pending approval of EU subsidies and the requirement to relocate black soil for reuse at another site. 

Intel's Fab 29 modules 1 and 2 were initially scheduled to start operations in late 2027 and make chips on Intel's 14A (1.4nm) and 10A (1nm) production nodes. Typically, Intel launches new client PC products in the second half of the year and ramps up production in the first half. The fabs were intended to produce client PC products set for release in the second half of 2028. Although production could begin if the fabs were ready by mid-2028, the timeline would be tight. However, some of the latest reports indicate a different schedule, estimating four to five years for construction, with production now expected to start between 2029 and 2030.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.