Fluorinated ethers

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Fluorinated ethers are refrigerant gases that have been developed as alternatives to CFCs and HFCs. "Attractive features of these ethers include the absence of chlorine and the incorporation of hydrogen, which will allow for degradation to begin in the troposphere," one paper notes.[1] While fluorinated ethers are recognised as greenhouse gases they are not currently included under the Kyoto Protocol. (See Greenhouse gases omitted from the Kyoto Protocol for more details).

Fluorinated ethers in the Post-Kyoto Protocol Agreement

Ahead of the negotiation of the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have sought comments from governments on whether sulfuryl fluoride should be included in a new agreement.

In a submission to the UNFCCC, the Australian government notes that to date only hydrofluoroethers(HFEs) have been provided with Global Warming Potential values in the the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), was compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).[2]:

The submission noted that:

"Currently, the HFEs most widely used by industry are HFE-7200, HFE-7100 (both included in the AR4), HFE-7500 and HFE-7000 (both not included in the AR4), owing to their chemical similarity to HCFC-141b. The academic literature identifies a number of applications for which HFEs offer potential, in particular as refrigerants, solvents and as heat transfer fluids. The IPCC and the Montreal Protocol's Technology and Economic Assessment Panel suggests that as a result of the relatively low GWPs of some HFEs, their use as a replacement for other gases would "significantly reduce" greenhouse gas emissions. However, as they are currently more expensive to produce than HFC alternatives, there is less commercial interest in their use except in high value sectors such as precision cleaning. Information does not appear to be readily available on current and future uses for many of the HFEs listed in the AR4. This lack of information makes it difficult to assess the potential for HFEs to contribute to climate change, the scope for mitigation and its costs."


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References

  1. David Alan Good, "Atmospheric fate of dimethyl and fluorinated ethers", Purdue University, 1999,
  2. Australian Government, "Paper No 1B: Views on the coverage of greenhouse gases: Submission to the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP", August 21, 2008. (This material is in the submission on page 8 of the submissions collated by the UNFCCC.)

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