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  •  thanks for solar gift ideas (for ME) (6+ / 0-)

    Just last night I was thinking about getting a new flashlight and something like recharging batteries.......

    BTW, there was a segment on the radio today about a chemical used in manufacturing solar panels which is very bad for global warming and needs to be controlled. I got the  impression that something can be done. You can listen online:

    Switching to solar energy may not be as green as it seems. Many of the newest solar panels are made with a gas, NF3, that is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming. NF3 is also used in the manufacture of flat-screen TVs, iPhones, computer chips, and lots more. Michael Prather is professor at UC Irvine.

    Media Reform Action Link

    by LNK on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 12:18:54 PM PST

    •  Everything Has a Price (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, JayDean, pattyp, jlms qkw, greenmama

      There are also reports of silicon tetrachloride pollution around solar cell manufacturing plants in China.  Nothing is free.  Everything costs.  That's thermodynamics and a material world for ya.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

      by gmoke on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 12:22:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Everything has a 'price' but control is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sychotic1, gmoke

        what we need.

        My late mother was a scientist, went to China c. 1977, brought back endless pictures of pollution ....They don't even try.

        What I understood from the radio segment and didn't seem to make clear to you is this:  the gas being used was never made in quantity before, so it wasn't listed as a pollutant in the Kyoto Protocol. Industry was satisfied that they were capturing 90%, but over the years, with the huge increase in production of solar cells the amount of escaped gas is no longer trivial.

        Now that there is enough in the atmosphere to measure, they realize the need to capture that last 10%, which they plan to do.

        Media Reform Action Link

        by LNK on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 01:46:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  here's a place (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, gmoke, jlms qkw

      that sells a lot of smaller solar gear, battery chargers and the like:

      They seem pretty cool, although I have yet to actually try them out.

    •  That NF3 report has been debunked (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, gmoke

      the originator of the report made several assumptions that had little to back them, and as a result grossly over-estimated the release of NF3. At one point he stated a calculation on the impact of NF3 as a GHG by using the production amount of NF3, ignoring that most of it is destroyed in its usage.

      The measured amounts of NF3 are a fraction of a part per trillion.  Taking the stated 17,000 times as potent as CO2, 1 ppt of NF3 would equal 17 parts per billion of CO2, or 0.0045% of the current CO2 concentration.  

      On top of that those measurements are not yet verified, measuring almost anything accurately at a part per trillion is tricky, and the values reported are in hundredths of a part per trillion.  To phrase it another way, there are estimation to be some 200 terabytes - trillion bytes - on data in pages on the World Wide Web, the reported values run from one letter to 4 words out of all that. Or measure the total weight of all the people in the world twice, and reporting the difference as 1/3 a grain of rice.

      It also appears that the majority of the release of NF3 is outside the U.S.:

      Having worked with NF3 and the gases it replaced, for over 20 years in the semiconductor and FPD industries, I would like to add some perspective. Perfluorinated compounds have been widely used for several decades in the manufacture of semiconductors, and more recently in FPD and solar panel fabrication. The primary use for these chemicals is for cleaning residual glass deposition from the chamber walls of the processing equipment. The gases are energetically broken down via RF plasma excitation to produce very reactive and short lived atomic fluorine which reacts with the silicon containing residues converting them to gaseous byproducts which are pumped away by vacuum pumps, scrubbed by exhaust capture systems, and entrained. Roughly 10 years ago, the semiconductor industry in the US, recognizing that even though their PFC emissions accounted for less than 0.02% of the world total PFC emission footprint, voluntarily took on the responsibility of curbing emissions of the worst GHG's from their industry sector. We found many cases where simple optimization of processes produced greater than 50% reductions in emissions. Substituting chemicals that had lower GWP's but produced equivalent process results also were found possible and implemented. Novel new hardware was developed and deployed that, in the case of NF3, decomposed better than 99.9% of the chemical converting it to relatively benign by-products (from a GWP perspective). We found that in addition to practically eliminating GHG emission, the new hardware produced far better manufacturing results making the adoption very palatable for industry and effectively enabling cost effective FPD manufacture. Having contributed to numerous analytical emission studies of NF3 and other PFC's, I take issue with Weiss's assertion that NF3 emission accounts for 0.15% of all human attributable GHG's. His estimate is most probably off by at least 2 decades. As a final point, analytical methods that are claimed to resolve in the parts per quadrillion range should be viewed with extreme skepticism until a suitable track record is established.

      •  Manufactured chemicals vs. Life and Nature (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmoke, Lexpression

        Long history of underestimating the damage........the potential for damage, the future of accumulated damage.

        I remember c. 1951 the county was being sprayed with DDT as if it was harmless to everything except mosquitos........ Only after birds disappeared did anyone seem to wake up and think.

        We humans are not good at sensing the odds. We buy lottery tickets with slim odds, when we imagine positive outcome; we dismiss same odds when stacked against us.

        Media Reform Action Link

        by LNK on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 01:53:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  in the case of DDT (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bronte17, Sychotic1, gmoke

          many of effects at low concentrations had not been studied at the time wide scale usage to fight malaria was implemented.  With greenhouse gases there have been studies, both empirical and through calculations, of the effects of various gases.  The radiative forcing from the current CO2 level is 1.46 W/m2, methane is 0.48, nitrous oxide 0.15, CFC-12 (a more common member of the Freon family) 0.17, and NF3 less that 0.001  W/m2; or less that 0.1% that of CO2.  That value is based on the older atmospheric lifetime of NF3, more recent studies show that its lifetime is lower than previously believed.

          Effects must be evaluated in terms of known data and possibilities.  Because on researcher makes a statement that one approves of, the statement should not be considered more valid that others that one disapproves of; the data used must be evaluated.

          If you want solar photovoltaic power, you're likely to have to put up with NF3.  It replaced earlier alternatives that had much larger GHG effect, and is the best known way to do the task without threatening the lives of the workers.  While there are several possibly alternative technologies for making PV cells that appear not to need NF3, they have other undesirable effects.  The one popular around here, Nanosolar's CIGS-based product, is difficult to evaluate because they don't release data but only standard corporate PR. Large scale production of CIGS photovoltaics is likely to demand increased production of indium and gallium; this implies increased lead and zinc mining, and coal burning for the ash, as those are good sources of the metals.

          If you're willing to give up solar PV, going with utility scale wind and concentrated solar thermal power production, and go back to using CRTs over flat panel displays, then you can scale back on the use of NF3.


          •  NF3 CAN be captured. DDT: we had no malaria (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            or other diseases in my neighborhood; DDT spraying was simply against the nuisance of mosquitos.

            Profligate, wasteful, but profit-making for somebody.

            It was that "Better Living Through Chemistry" and mid-Century wonders........Same epoch where maps were being drawn up showing The Hudson River in black instead of blue because it was being designating as industrial waste be sacrificed.

            Media Reform Action Link

            by LNK on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 02:46:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  NF3 is already scrubbed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The alarmist report 'estimated' that 10% escaped, the author at one point gave calculations based on 100% of NF3 production being released into the atmosphere.  Yet the basic process using NF3 consumes at least 99%, that quote from someone in the industry gives 99.9% destruction of NF3. And that's before the scrubbing is done, which you need to do because the off-gas contain SiF4 which reacts with moisture to give hydrogen fluoride.

              So the fucking report greatly exaggerates the release, from 10 time for simple venting the worst case off-gas, which isn't done, and are likely 1000 times or higher than actually occurs, to waving about calculations that are based in mythology of venting all produced NF3.  And NF3 replaced gasses that were worse GHG, SF6 and CFCs.

              If you read the reports from the industry and other researchers, you'll see them speculating that there may be leakage in the supply chain and non-vent production side, and the research on that is being done with the intent to reduce leakage found.

              But then shutting down the use of NF3 will make flat screen displays and photovoltaic panels much more expensive, which won't bother me. No more wall sized TVs and people demanding subsidies for their inefficient rooftop solar electricity generation.

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