Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-857
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-857

  04 Nov 2021

04 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Global Emissions of Perfluorocyclobutane (PFC-318, c-C4F8) Resulting from the Use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22 (HCFC-22) Feedstock to Produce Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and related Fluorochemicals

Jens Mühle1, Lambert J. M. Kuijpers2, Kieran M. Stanley3, Matthew Rigby4, Luke M. Western4, Jooil Kim1, Sunyoung Park5, Christina M. Harth1, Paul B. Krummel6, Paul J. Fraser6, Simon O’Doherty3, Peter K. Salameh1, Roland Schmidt1, Dickon Young3, Ronald G. Prinn7, Ray H. J. Wang8, and Ray F. Weiss1 Jens Mühle et al.
  • 1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA
  • 2A/gent Consultancy BV, 95CF+9M Venlo, The Netherlands
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, 60438, Germany
  • 4School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TS, UK
  • 5Department of Oceanography, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, 41566, Republic of Korea
  • 6Climate Science Centre, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Victoria, 3195, Australia
  • 7Center for Global Change Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA
  • 8School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332, USA

Abstract. Emissions of the potent greenhouse gas perfluorocyclobutane (c-C4F8, PFC-318, octafluorocyclobutane) into the global atmosphere inferred from atmospheric measurements have been increasing sharply since the early 2000s. We find that these inferred emissions are highly correlated with the production of hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22 (HCFC-22, CHClF2) for feedstock (FS) uses, because almost all HCFC-22 FS is pyrolyzed to produce (poly)tetrafluoroethylene ((P)TFE, Teflon) and hexafluoropropylene (HFP), a process in which c-C4F8 is a known by-product, causing a significant fraction of global c-C4F8 emissions. We find a global emission factor of ~0.003 kg c-C4F8 per kg of HCFC-22 FS pyrolyzed. Mitigation of these c-C4F8 emissions, e.g., through process optimization, abatement, or different manufacturing processes, such as electrochemical fluorination, could reduce the climate impact of this industry. While it has been shown that c-C4F8 emissions from developing countries dominate global emissions, more atmospheric measurements and/or detailed process statistics are needed to quantify country to facility level c-C4F8 emissions.

Jens Mühle et al.

Status: open (until 30 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-857', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Nov 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-857', Anonymous Referee #1, 29 Nov 2021 reply

Jens Mühle et al.

Jens Mühle et al.

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Short summary
Global emissions of the strong greenhouse gas perfluorocyclobutane (c-C4F8) into the atmosphere have been increasing sharply since the early 2000s. These c-C4F8 emissions are highly correlated with the amount of hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22 produced to synthesize polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) and related fluorochemicals, using a process in which c-C4F8 is a by-product, that is vented to the atmosphere. Avoiding these unnecessary c-C4F8 emissions could reduce the climate impact of this industry.
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