New Book: Solar Cells 23,000 Times Worse for Environment Than Carbon Dioxide

Discussion in 'Environment' started by daveman, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    New Book: Solar Cells 23,000 Times Worse for Environment Than Carbon Dioxide
    Solar Cells Linked to Greenhouse Gases Over 23,000 Times Worse than Carbon Dioxide According to New Book, Green Illusions ... Solar cells do not offset greenhouse gases or curb fossil fuel use in the United States according to a new environmental book, Green Illusions (June 2012, University of Nebraska Press), written by University of California - Berkeley visiting scholar Ozzie Zehner. Green Illusions explains how the solar industry has grown to become one of the leading emitters of hexafluoroethane (C2F6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). These three potent greenhouse gases, used by solar cell fabricators, make carbon dioxide (CO2) seem harmless. – PR Newswire

    --

    Bottom line according to this new book, Green Illusions: Hexafluoroethane has a global warming potential that is 12,000 times higher than CO2.

    This isn't just some statistic with a dubious genealogy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes this assessment. And it gets worse. Hexafluoroethane is "100 percent manufactured by humans, and survives 10,000 years once released into the atmosphere."

    Here's some more from the press release:

    Nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more virulent than CO2, and SF6, the most treacherous greenhouse gas, is over 23,000 times more threatening. The solar photovoltaic industry is one of the fastest-growing emitters of these gases, which are now measurably accumulating within the earth's atmosphere according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    A NOAA study shows that atmospheric concentrations of SF6 have been rising exponentially. A paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters documents that atmospheric NF3 levels have been rising 11 percent per year.

    "If photovoltaic production grows, so will the associated side effects," claims Zehner. "Even worse, there's no evidence that solar cells offset fossil fuel use in the American context." Zehner explains that alternative energy subsidies keep retail electricity costs incrementally lower, which then spurs demand. "It's a boomerang effect," remarks Zehner. "The harder we throw alternative energy into the electrical grid, the harder demand comes back to hit us on the head. Historically, we've filled that demand by building more fossil fuel plants, not fewer."​

    Imagine that. A leftist do-gooder scheme whose actual results are worse than the problem it proposes to solve.

    Oh, well, doesn't matter. Their INTENTIONS are pure, and that's all that's important.

    Right, USMB AGW cultists?
     
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  2. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Electronics Industry Changes the Climate with New Greenhouse Gas: Scientific American

    Emissions of a greenhouse gas that has 17,000 times the planet-warming capacity of carbon dioxide are at least four times higher than had been previously estimated. Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) is used mainly by the semiconductor industry to clean the chambers in which silicon chips are made. The industry had in the past estimated that most of the gas was expended during the cleaning process and only about 2 percent escaped into the air. But the first-ever measurements of nitrogen trifluoride levels in the atmosphere, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters show that emissions could be as high as 16 percent.

    The results might not have immediate repercussions—nitrogen trifluoride currently adds 0.04 percent of the global warming effect created by carbon dioxide emitted from sources such as coal-burning power plants and cars. More and more gas will be needed, however, as flat-panel LCD televisions become standard in American living rooms and the fledgling thin-film solar cell industry takes off; nitrogen trifluoride is used as a cleaning agent in the manufacture of both.

    So, what are you stating? That we should stop all electronics production in the US, or that we should find a way of reclaiming this gas so that it will not get into the atmosphere.

    And I note that your book only blames the solar photovoltaic industry, while it is a very small part of the problem.
     
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  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Accomplishments | PFC Reduction / Climate Partnership for the Semiconductor Industry | US EPA

    The figure below shows the U.S. semiconductor industry partners’ historical and expected future PFC emissions in green and yellow bars respectively compared to its “business as usual” (BAU) emissions in blue. The BAU scenario reflects the partners’ direct PFC emissions assuming they take no action to reduce emissions. The semiconductor industry’s impressive growth pattern is historically cyclical. While production slowed and declined in 2001 and 2002, rising demand for mobile consumer products (e.g., iPods, cell phones) and computers in 2005 is driving the recovery and continued growth. Analysts predict maintained industry growth approaching 11 percent annually through 20071.
     
  4. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    ESRL/GMD 2012 Annual Conference

    Nitrogen Trifluoride Global Emissions and Emission Factors Estimated from Atmospheric Observations

    T. Arnold1, C.M. Harth1, J. Mühle1, P.K. Salameh1, A.J. Manning2, J. Kim1 and R.F. Weiss1

    1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093; 858-534-2599, E-mail: tarnold@ucsd.edu
    2Atmospheric Dispersion Group, UK Meteorological Office, Devon, United Kingdom

    Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), an anthropogenic greenhouse gas with a 100-yr Global Warming Potential (GWP) of over 16,000, has an increasing atmospheric abundance due to its emission from a growing number of manufacturing processes and an expanding end-use market. We present an updated historical record for atmospheric NF3 based on a new and rigorous calibration (SIO-2012 scale), and show the latest analyses using our automated analytical method (an adapted Medusa GC-MS), including in situ measurements at La Jolla, California (32.87° N, 117.25° W).

    We used a 2D atmospheric chemical transport model and inverse method together with our atmospheric data to optimally calculate global emissions over the last three decades. CO2-equivalent NF3 emissions (based on a 100-yr GWP) in 2011 totaled around 20 Mt, which equates to ~0.06% of global CO2 emissions due to fossil fuel combustion and cement production. Our results suggest that the global emission factor has recently stabilized after many years of efficiency gains. Longer-term market trends for NF3 are difficult to predict, however, production is expected to continue rising significantly in the foreseeable future. Given our latest findings, we expect a similar relative rise in both production and emissions over the coming years. This would lead to an accelerating rise in atmospheric NF3 and a significant increase in the contribution of NF3 to total radiative forcing. Although the emission factors we calculate are higher than “bottom-up” estimates from industry, from a climate perspective NF3 continues to be preferred to C2F6 as source of fluorine plasma in industrial processes.

    While we need to do all we can to prevent more GHGs from going into the atmosphere, the amount that the electronics industry contributes due to these gases is less than 1% of the whole. And of that, the solar cell industry is only a very small part compared the chips, large screen tv's, and other electronincs.

    So what we have here is more hysteria concerning solar panels. Because very soon they will deliver electricity far cheaper than coal. With no downstream effects, asthma, lead, and mercury in the atmosphere than our young children breath.
     
  5. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    But it's only the PV industry that morons like you claim will save us all from eeeevil CO2 and global warmercoolerchanging.

    If you could admit much of what you say is based on bullshit, you might be salvageable.

    But your next two posts prove you're more interested in bitterly clinging to your religion's dogma.
     
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  6. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    Bullshit.
     
  7. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah -- 20 years ago, the EPA would bless ANYTHING to get rid of cleaners like Carbon Tet or percfluorides. And these variants snuck in as "less toxic" and less polluting. But gradually, it was recognized that they mean something to the GreenHouse..

    Let's be honest about a few things..

    I can make the monthly quota for CPU chips for the whole population of your STATE out of the silicon on just one residential rooftop Solar installation.. Therefore the PV industry IS a significant if not DOMINANT user of these gases..

    HOWEVER --- NF3 was chosen because it's EASIER to control and breakdown. And the answer to this problem is in the design of the Deposition chambers that are being cleaned with these products. Like a "self-cleaning oven" feature, it seems to me we could cut "escape" by 50 to 75% with secondary cleaning cycles and sequestration tanks on the chambers. I've actually had that discussion with a buddy of mine who works for a big Semi.. But you don't just JUNK that kind of equipment and it can have a useful lifecycle of 20 years.. So ---- eventually --- this is probably a non-problem.. Unless GOVT STEPS IN AND MANDATES that Semi companies screw up their lines by replacing chambers..

    Semi companies are VERY SUPERSTITOUS about making adjustments to existing FUNCTIONAL fabrication lines..

    Yeah it's MUCH higher than anyone anticipated, but as bolded in the article above (AND CONFIRMED by OldieRocks -- whos ALWAYS RIGHT) -- a major NF3 company is about the equivalent of ONE giant coal plant..

    NOTHING is totally clean. Unless you want to make it more expensive than gold or platinum.. Ive drank completely clean water -- the kind that Semi producers pay $200 per gallon for --- and it's not healthier or tastier than what comes out of my 'fridge filter".

    We could increase Solar PV efficiencies today by 50% by mining a lot more Arsenic, but we don't. That's why engineers have to juggle a hundred variables to come up with an optimal design..
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  8. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    Huh-huh...And what of the cadmium required for them?
     
  9. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    NF3 lives for 10,000 years in the environment (suppose we should check that factoid out) but Cadmium is "forever".. :eusa_shifty:

    Just like the diamond commercial...
     
  10. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    I was talking about the mining of it.

    Seems that envirowhacks haven't ever been introduced to the concepts of trade-offs or externalities.
     

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