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Scientists assess greenhouse gas used in chips, LCD

Posted: 11 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LCD? greenhouse chemical? flat-screen TV?

Scientists are raising concern over a chemical widely used in the manufacture of computers and flat-screen TVs. Nitrogen trifluoride or NF3, is a potent greenhouse gas, with 17,000x the global warming effect of carbon dioxide, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Decades ago, NF3 was introduced as the replacement for perfluorocarbons (PFCs), which were phased out because their release into the air contributed to global warming.

NF3 was thought less likely to escape into the air. The chemical is emitted during manufacturing, though the amount that escapes is unmeasured and unregulated.

About 75 percent of total NF3 production is used to manufacture semiconductors for PCs. The rest is used to make LCD panels for flat-screen TVs, a market that is booming worldwide and thus increasing NF3 demand.

Climate scientists are alarmed by the rapid growth of the chemical's production and are taking steps to assess its potential environmental damage, according to the LA Times report.

Central Europe, especially Poland, is home to dozens of large scale LCD manufacturing facilities.

- Drew Wilson
EE Times





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