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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > Standard Operating Procedures for Green and Sustainable Business Operations > Green Chemistry

Greenhouse Gas: Nitrogen Trifluoride, or NF3, from televisions, solar panels and microprocessors

NF3 has a global-warming potential 17,000 times greater than carbon dioxide.

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In April, 2009, the California Legislature began consideration of a bill (SB 104) to reduce the use of nitrogen trifluoride, or NF3, and possibly other gases found to be at least as harmful as carbon dioxide.

In 2006, California policymakers passed legislation to reduce harmful emissions under Assembly Bill 32. But that landmark measure did not address NF3, which at the time was thought to be a clean alternative to gases used in manufacturing televisions, solar panels and microprocessors.

Jenny Oropeza’s Assembly bill comes after a 2008 study by the University of California, Irvine concluded NF3 has a global-warming potential 17,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. The study also indicated that NF3 persists in the atmosphere for centuries.

In addition, another study published last year by UC San Diego found that, contrary to industry claims, a larger amount of NF3 has been released into the air than had previously been believed. UC scientists have also concluded that the quantity of this gas is indeed growing rapidly in the atmosphere.

Supporters of California SB 104 include the Sierra Club, Coalition for Clean Air, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Its introduction followed action earlier in 2009 by President Barack Obama to seek allowing California and other states to approve stricter vehicle emissions standards than under current federal law.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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