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THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby onlooker » Tue 18 Apr 2017, 15:38:48

http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/01/solar ... -than-co2/

Solar Panels Increased Emissions Of A Gas 17,200 Times More Potent Than CO2
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Tue 18 Apr 2017, 16:36:59

According to the article:
"America’s CO2 emissions have fallen by more than 12 percent since their high in 2005. U.S. CO2 emissions likely declined by 2.6 percent in 2015 and are expected to fall an additional 1.7 percent this year.
--------------------
The 1,057 percent increase in US annual emissions of NF3 from 1990 to 2015 compares to an increase of 5.6 percent in carbon dioxide emissions, according to EPA data in a recently-published draft of a new report"


Looks like a net benefit to me - the NF3 emissions are equivalent to a 5.6 % increase in CO2, while CO2 emissions have actually decreased more than 12 percent , with at least part of that attributable to alt energy generation.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 08:58:08

The real killer with Nitrogen triflouride is its persistence. Just like flourocarbons it is incredibly stable chemically, so it will persist for tens of thousands of years. The issue with saying it is equal to a 5.6% CO2 global warming potential is the timescale, almost all of them are set to a single century. A century is far too long for Methane, it is basically consumed within 30 years of emission, and it is far too short for Nitrogen Triflouride which persists for hundreds of centuries, not a single century as calculated.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 10:06:44

Wikipedia gives 550 to 740 years for atmospheric persistence of nitrogen trifloride.
To me, it still looks like it is a net benefit to make new PV panels. They reach break even in terms of CO2 emission equivalent in just a few years.
And NF3 is gradually being replaced by elemental fluorine in the manufacturing process.
No need to panic over something that is helping the situation.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 13:23:54

Hawkcreek wrote:Wikipedia gives 550 to 740 years for atmospheric persistence of nitrogen trifloride.
To me, it still looks like it is a net benefit to make new PV panels. They reach break even in terms of CO2 emission equivalent in just a few years.
And NF3 is gradually being replaced by elemental fluorine in the manufacturing process.
No need to panic over something that is helping the situation.



I find those numbers hard to accept for a simpke reason. We have been told for decades we have to eliminate flouroCarbons because the last for millenia. Why woul FlouroNitrates break down so much faster? The stabilizing factor is the flourine ion is extreamly tighly bound to the other chemical in the molecule. It is also known that Flourine is more tighly bound than Oxygen, IOW Oxygen is a lower rank oxidizing agent than Flourine.

For example Ammonia, NH3 and Methane, CH4 break down very quickly, but Carbon Tetraflouride CF4 lasts a very long time of 50,000.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 14:44:52

Subjectivist wrote:
Hawkcreek wrote:Wikipedia gives 550 to 740 years for atmospheric persistence of nitrogen trifloride.
To me, it still looks like it is a net benefit to make new PV panels. They reach break even in terms of CO2 emission equivalent in just a few years.
And NF3 is gradually being replaced by elemental fluorine in the manufacturing process.
No need to panic over something that is helping the situation.
I find those numbers hard to accept for a simpke reason. We have been told for decades we have to eliminate flouroCarbons because the last for millenia. Why woul FlouroNitrates break down so much faster? The stabilizing factor is the flourine ion is extreamly tighly bound to the other chemical in the molecule. It is also known that Flourine is more tighly bound than Oxygen, IOW Oxygen is a lower rank oxidizing agent than Flourine.

For example Ammonia, NH3 and Methane, CH4 break down very quickly, but Carbon Tetraflouride CF4 lasts a very long time of 50,000.
The studies that report solar panels are GHG break even after just a few years did not account for fluorinated compounds like NF3, C2F6, and SF6. Those gases are much more potent GHGs than the CO2 released by the power plant for the electricity/heat needs of solar panel manufacturing that the study did look at. When you add those gases into the analysis, the case of Solar PV looks much more damning.

Fthenakis concedes, however, that his estimates of emissions for solar cells compared to fossil fuels don’t reflect gases like sulfur hexafluoride or nitrogen trifluoride. Once these are taken into account, the resulting impact from solar panels could be higher than estimated.
The Not-So-Sunny Side of Solar Panels

Abstract - Producing electricity by harvesting solar energy in photovoltaic(PV) solar cells can, as we will see, lead to serious unintended consequences. It is the manufacturing of the PV that causes the most evident impacts on health and the environment. The large consumption of water for rinsing wafers between etching steps, creates a subsequent need for wastewater treatment facilities. Production of the cells also leads to additional emissions of fluorinated compounds, such as hexafluoroethane(C2F6), nitrogen trifluoride(NF3), and sulfur hexafluroride(SF6). These are all extremely strong greenhouse gases, with global warming potentials(GWPs) of 9,200, 17,200, and 39,800 times that of CO2.
...
These aspects explain why electricity production with the use of PV solar cells is worse than many other technologies, in terms of life cycle GHG emissions. In ExternE use the use of Solar PV cells was ranked even worse than natural gas in terms of life cycle GHG emissions and air pollution. As shown in Table 7.1 of the studied German electricity generation options, only lignite and coal was worse regarding the combined external costs. The two other renewable energy technologies wind and hydro came out substantially better.
Unintended Consequences of Renewable Energy
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 15:05:17

In my case, I figured the people writing the Wiki entry - with their list of 23 references and footnotes - knew more about it than me. I'm just an old white guy with a high school diploma (barely).
I accept their figures.
You should probably try to correct the wiki if you think them in error.
I also accept that forums, in general, are just a great big, steaming, pile of opinion, and I don't mind that. It makes things interesting, seeing how people maintain their belief systems.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 15:16:56

I've never actually edited a wikipedia article before but I guess I could give it a shot. Which article did you want me to edit?
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Squilliam » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 15:19:36

Apparently levels of NF3 are rising at 11% per year. However like with anything perspective is an important component.

As of 2011, total NF3 emissions equalled only 0.06 percent of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions contributed by CO2 using an apples-to-apples comparison, according to a study led by researcher and University of Edinburgh climate specialist Dr. Tim Arnold, then with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 15:35:06

Did a little more looking trying to find out just how bad NF3 really is. Looks like it is being used more to replace the perfluorocarbon etch gases that were really bad. And the more recent studies say: "It has an estimated atmospheric lifetime of 740 years, though newer research suggests a slightly shorter lifetime of 550 years and a GWP of 16,800."

https://enochthered.wordpress.com/2008/07/03/nitrogen-trifluoride-as-an-anthropogenic-greenhouse-forcing-gas/

"Recently, the use of NF3 as an etch gas for chamber cleaning processed has been reported to give promising results, and use of this gas has been increasing. Aside from the advantage of less wear on the chamber, gas consumption is lower, since the utilisation of NF3 is very high, at 85 to 99\%. At the same time NF3 has a far smaller atmospheric lifetime of 550 years than standard etch gases like tetrafluoromethane and hexafluorethane, with estimated atmospheric lifetimes of 50,000 and 10,000 years, respectively.

When comparing the global warming potentials of these gases, a 100-year integrated time horizon is used, and the benefit of using nitrogen trifluoride to replace the alternative reagents with regards to anthropogenic greenhouse effect forcing is obfuscated for that reason.
"

"Regarding the consumption of perfluorocarbon etch gases, chamber cleaning processes are the major contributor. Since the utilisation of etch gas in these processes is usually less than 50%, the remaining gas has to be destroyed and removed by a waste gas abatement system. Generally, for CVD and etch processes, waste gas abatement is necessary for several reasons, certainly including but not limited to environmental concern and legal restrictions on emissions of greenhouse-forcing fluorinated gases.

Tetrafluoromethane is used in the microelectronics industry alone or in combination with oxygen as a plasma etchant for silicon, silicon dioxide, and silicon nitride. Tetrafluoromethane is a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect. It is very stable, lasts a long time in the atmosphere, and is a powerful greenhouse gas. Its atmospheric lifetime is 50,000 years and it has a global warming potential of 6500.

Hexafluoroethane is also used as a versatile etchant in semiconductor manufacturing. It can be used for selective etching of metal silicides and oxides versus their metal substrates and also for etching of silicon dioxide over silicon. Hexafluoroethane is very stable in the atmosphere and thus acts as an extremely potent greenhouse gas, with an atmospheric lifetime of 10,000 years and a global warming potential (GWP) of 9200.

Sulfur hexafluoride is also used as a plasma etchant in the semiconductor industry, along with other technological applications. It is the most potent greenhouse gas known, with a global warming potential of 22,800 over a 100 year time horizon – SF6 is very stable. Its mixing ratio in the atmosphere is lower than that of CO2; about 6.5 parts per trillion in 2008, compared to 380 ppm of carbon dioxide."


Again - looks like things are getting better, not worse.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 15:37:26

kublikhan wrote:I've never actually edited a wikipedia article before but I guess I could give it a shot. Which article did you want me to edit?

Here it is:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_trifluoride
Enjoy :)
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 17:24:15

Hawkcreek wrote:Here it is:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_trifluoride
Enjoy :)
Thanks! I've been doing more reading on this subject. NREL reports data inline with the wiki article. I have not dug into the data in my earlier post but it seems like it might be an outlier? The paper in the wiki reports the Solar PV industry shifted years ago to recycle much of the gas so perhaps that is the reason for the difference? Anyway, I wanted to share the NREL report on this issue:

Catching wind of the release the National Renewable Energy Laboratory responded to a CEA request. The lab recently conducted a comparative life-cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions for energy sources, including solar, coal, and natural gas. “NREL’s meta-analysis of studies, which evaluated life cycle (cradle-to-grave) greenhouse-gas emissions for various generating technologies, found this year that the median amount of greenhouse gases emitted were 45 grams per kilowatt hour for solar photovoltaics, about 500 grams per kilowatt hour for natural gas and 1,001 grams per kilowatt hour for coal,” NREL said in response.

At its site Life Cycle Assessment Harmonization Results and Findings, NREL said it identified 2,100 published references and subjected them to three rounds of critical review from experts before considering them. Ultimately it found that 14 percent of them were worthy sources for greenhouse gas emissions data. Including some of the exotic greenhouse gasses mentioned in Green Illusions. “The range for PV was from about 10 to about 200 grams per kilowatt hour,” said NREL scientist Garvin Heath, principal author of the analysis. Even that highest estimate for PV was about 40 percent that of the average for natural gas, and 20 percent of the average for coal, based on the meta-analysis of 46 estimates from 17 studies, NREL said.

An NREL analyst, Austin Brown, honed in on the SF6 emissions, observing that 86 percent such emissions stem from its use as an electrical insulator for electrical transmission. Only 7 percent is from manufacturing semiconductors and only a subset of that is for solar cells. “Brown also noted that while SF6 is a potent greenhouse gas on a per-molecule basis, it still is a very small part of the greenhouse gas problem—about 2/10ths of 1 percent in the last inventory,” NREL said. “While exotic gases are important to take into account in any energy strategy, CO2 is clearly the top priority.”
Green Illusions distorts impact of solar on environment
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 19 Apr 2017, 18:30:46

Thanks K,
There are nuggets of good info in the steaming pile I mentioned earlier. I confess, I don't have the energy to sift through the piles looking for the absolute truth, but it is nice when someone else finds a nugget.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 20 Apr 2017, 01:37:01

Based on the link I somehow misplaced Nitrogen Triflouride is eager to exchange Nitrogen with Hydrogen for the binding agent of the Fluoride atom forming Hydroflouric Acid. It especially likes to do this when electrically energized for example when it is in a cloud layer and static electricity accumulates before it makes a lightning bolt. This is why Nitrogen triflouride has so much shorter of a half life than other flouride compounds, it is actually one of the least stable forms of flourides and yet even at that it persists for hundreds of years while Nitrous Oxides rarely last much more than a single century.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Thu 20 Apr 2017, 10:38:39

Tanada wrote:Based on the link I somehow misplaced Nitrogen Triflouride is eager to exchange Nitrogen with Hydrogen for the binding agent of the Fluoride atom forming Hydroflouric Acid. It especially likes to do this when electrically energized for example when it is in a cloud layer and static electricity accumulates before it makes a lightning bolt. This is why Nitrogen triflouride has so much shorter of a half life than other flouride compounds, it is actually one of the least stable forms of flourides and yet even at that it persists for hundreds of years while Nitrous Oxides rarely last much more than a single century.

But still many times better than the stuff that it is replacing.
Yep, things are getting better. :-D :-D
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 20 Apr 2017, 13:18:11

Or learn how to live using less electricity.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 20 Apr 2017, 14:14:09

Newfie wrote:Or learn how to live using less electricity.

Household electricity consumption only accounts for a small fraction (+- %8) of the total energy burned up by our complex industrial infrastructure. Personal reduction is about tapped out and further improvements will be minuscule, barely enough to keep up with continual demand.
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby GHung » Thu 20 Apr 2017, 15:01:32

pstarr wrote:
Newfie wrote:Or learn how to live using less electricity.

Household electricity consumption only accounts for a small fraction (+- %8) of the total energy burned up by our complex industrial infrastructure. Personal reduction is about tapped out and further improvements will be minuscule, barely enough to keep up with continual demand.


The latest thing in our rural area is the hideous giant video billboards. The largest section in our local supermarket (besides the sugar water section) is the huge ice cream isle along with the facing section of frozen desserts, pies, etc.; over 200 linear feet of frozen sugary junk food in inefficient vertical freezers.
With priorities like that, who needs conservation?
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 20 Apr 2017, 15:05:18

GHung wrote:
pstarr wrote:
Newfie wrote:Or learn how to live using less electricity.

Household electricity consumption only accounts for a small fraction (+- %8) of the total energy burned up by our complex industrial infrastructure. Personal reduction is about tapped out and further improvements will be minuscule, barely enough to keep up with continual demand.


The latest thing in our rural area is the hideous giant video billboards. The largest section in our local supermarket (besides the sugar water section) is the huge ice cream isle along with the facing section of frozen desserts, pies, etc.; over 200 linear feet of frozen sugary junk food in inefficient vertical freezers.
With priorities like that, who needs conservation?

I know. Our big shining cities could go dark at night.
New research: Streetlights don't actually reduce crime or accidents.

We are happy idiots :)
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Re: THE Solar Cell Thread Pt. 3 (merged)

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 20 Apr 2017, 19:04:25

pstarr wrote:
Newfie wrote:Or learn how to live using less electricity.

Household electricity consumption only accounts for a small fraction (+- %8) of the total energy burned up by our complex industrial infrastructure. Personal reduction is about tapped out and further improvements will be minuscule, barely enough to keep up with continual demand.


Note YOU limited this to "household electrical consumption". I did not.

What is the TOTAL energy consumption of a typical USA house? What is it in Sweden? Poland? Guatemala?

Some interesting stats
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/clutter-stats/

A bit of humor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac


A picture worth a thousand words
http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/gal ... 0DI3dBy4mQ

All that STUFF in our houses represents the energy that is consumed in making, marketing, wharehousing, retailing, storing, and disposing of that stuff. That needs to figure into our total domestic energy figures. There is tons of room for improvement.
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