Seminar: The true impact of fluorinated compounds in the atmosphere (Dr. Christopher Hansen)

Wednesday, 1 July 2020 - 1:00pm – Wednesday, 1 July 2020 - 2:00pm  |  PhysChem Webinar Series


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This talk will present recent results using a combination of velocity-mapped ion imaging (VMI), Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and computational chemistry to provide detailed insight into the ultimate fate of next-generation refrigerants once they are emitted into the atmosphere. Particularly it will focus on one hydrofluoroolefin (HFO), HFO-1234ze or 1,3,3,3- tetrafluoropropene (CHF=CH-CF3), and the photochemistry of its known decomposition product (trifluoroacetaldehyde, CF3CHO). The hydrofluoroolefins are intended as ‘zero global warming potential (GWP)’ replacements for the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). However, these results demonstrate significant photochemical pathways leading to the formation of the most environmentally hazardous HFC, which is fluoroform (CHF3) with a global warming potential ~13 000 times worse than CO2 (by mass). These results re-evaluate the ‘effective’ GWPs of the ‘zero GWP’ refrigerants and can help account for an unidentified, increasing source of CHF3 in the atmosphere.