Pollutant Information: 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 42%. 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 63% in 2019.
Time series graph
|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|