Pollutant Information: PFCs 

About PFCs

Category: Greenhouse gases

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) contribute to climate change due to their positive radiative forcing effect. Perfluorocarbons have a range of global warming potentials (GWP), which are much higher than that of carbon. However, the small quantities emitted mean that despite the high GWP values of the individual gases, the total contribution to GWP weighted greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is small.

Since 1995, total emissions of PFCs have declined by 57%. Historically, the largest source of PFCs has been the aluminium production sector, which accounted for 56% of emissions in 1995, and still 45% as recently as 2011. By 2013, the sector's contribution had dropped to 2%, due to the closure of the last large aluminium smelting plant in the UK in March 2012. The largest emitting sector in recent years is electronics, accounting for 78% in 2018.

» View and Download PFCs emission summary data

Time series graph


Notable events

Start year End year Sector Information Impact
1990 2005 Metal Production Decline in PFC emissions (a by-product of reactions in the process for manufacturing aluminium) through declining aluminium production and improved efficiencies in the process. Decrease in emissions
2015 2017 Halocarbons Production Increase in the use of PFC in the manufacture of semiconductors. Decrease in emissions
2015 2018 Metal Production Operators of aluminium smelters have invested to improve plant performance, and all sites were converted to point feeder technology, leading to large reductions in PFC emissions per unit production Decrease in emissions

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