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Our Planet Can’t Wait. The World Needs F-Gases.

The linchpin to advancing circularity, decarbonization and socioeconomic value.

Our Planet Can’t Wait. The World Needs F-Gases.

The linchpin to advancing circularity, decarbonization and socioeconomic value.

Published 01-26-24

Submitted by The Chemours Company

By Joe Martinko, President, Thermal & Specialized Solutions (TSS), Chemours

If you don’t know what an F-gas is, you are not alone. However, I guarantee you rely on them daily.

F-gases and fluids are fluorinated technologies that manage temperature across a range of applications, from air conditioners, heat pumps and food storage and preservation, to medical devices, electronics, and even transportation and electric vehicles. Innovative F-gases called hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) offer low global warming potential (GWP)—a metric used to compare the “heat trapping” impacts of different gases—and superior performance across climates and applications.

Today, the impacts of climate change demand swift action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. We need technologies that maximize efficiency—of both resources and energy—to realize circularity and decarbonization without derailing value chains, market innovation and the economy at large. F-gases sit at the intersection of performance and sustainability, which is why the world needs F-gases now more than ever.

A child seated in a shopping at looking at items

F-gases enable a circular economy 

The United Nations defines a circular economy as a sustainable economic model “in which products and materials…can be reused, remanufactured, recycled, or recovered…and thus maintained in the economy for as long as possible.”1 Circularity is critical to achieving international climate goals and should be a key objective for industry in the effort to accelerate the green transition.

What many don’t realize is that F-gases are critical to advancing circularity across every industry they touch—automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics, chemical and the cold chain. Unlike many so-called “natural” alternatives, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and propane, F-gases can be recovered, reclaimed and reused today, maximizing resource efficiency, creating less waste, generating lower emissions and taking critical steps toward a circular economy.

F-gases will accelerate decarbonization

Electric vehicles, heat pumps and other solutions are recognized globally as drivers of the green transition, and all these drivers depend on F-gases.

Boasting superior energy efficiency, systems optimized with F-gases can achieve double digit energy savings when compared to alternatives.2 The full benefits of F-gases are just starting to be realized. For example, there is a new, low-GWP fluorinated technology pending regulatory approval for use in data centers—called two-phase immersion cooling—that can help dramatically reduce energy and water use, while supporting faster computing and data transmission. Compared to traditional cooling systems, this two-phase immersion cooling technology could reduce data center cooling energy use by more than 90 percent, translating to 340 Twh in global energy savings by 2055. That’s equivalent to powering more than 517 million laptops all day, every day.

A child one the shoulders of an adult, a row of wind turbines in the distance.

F-gases drive socioeconomic value

Vital industries and applications rely on innovative F-gas products to operate at peak performance. Looking at the transportation industry as an example, F-gases play a critical role in heating and cooling the cabin, but also enabling current and future performance improvements, such as battery cooling, extended driving ranges, faster charging and weight reduction, all while reducing total vehicle emissions.

F-gases deliver key economic and societal benefits. Indeed, in 2021, fluorinated products and related industries helped contribute approximately 6.2 million jobs, $560 billion in labor income, and more than $1 trillion towards U.S. GDP, according to one recent report.3 Threatening access to these chemistries, including F-gases, put these immense economic benefits at risk.

F-gases are reliable—they have undergone rigorous, data-intensive regulatory approval processes and are considered safe for their intended uses. As an example, commercially available and proven HFOs are about four times less likely to form flammable concentrations during an accidental leak than highly flammable (A3) alternatives. They are also far more difficult to ignite, requiring approximately 2,000 times more energy to ignite commonly used HFO blends versus propane.4

Most F-gas alternatives—including CO2, propane, and other so-called “naturals” — are not natural, new, universal or risk-free. These industrial gases were adopted more than a century ago and broadly abandoned for good reason. They pose real risks—from high working pressures and corrosion to flammability—and are plagued by performance limitations, increased maintenance and system costs, and value chain instability. This means that without F-gases, many of the critical innovations and industries we take for granted could be brought to a halt.

A person looking at their phone leaning on an EV plugged in.

The world needs innovation and F-gases

The green transition can’t wait, and it must be accelerated without compromising circularity, decarbonization or socioeconomic value. Fortunately, continued innovation in the F-gas industry, coupled with a smart regulatory roadmap, can help us achieve all of these objectives.

The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, enacted in 2020 to minimize the environmental impact of F-gases, is a prime example. In addition to providing a roadmap for phasing down high GWP hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) technology, the AIM Act is also encouraging industry to maximize reclaim, minimize releases and accelerate the transition to next-generation technology. This type of clear policy framework—paired with effective implementation—can and will help catalyze innovation, which is something that should be encouraged, rather than thwarted.

The reality is so-called “natural” alternatives simply cannot deliver the innovation required to tackle both climate and performance challenges. If we want to advance decarbonization, circularity and socioeconomic value, then the world—and America—needs F-gases.

Learn more about F-gases here.

[1] “New Economics for Sustainable Development: Circular Economy,” United Nations Economist Network.

[2] Measurements and simulations carried out by an independent research institute in Germany.

[3]“Quantifying the Economic Contribution of Key Industries which use PFAS as Vital Inputs,” Inforum, 2023.

[4] AHRI and industry flammability values.

View original content here.

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The Chemours Company

The Chemours Company

The Chemours Company (NYSE: CC) is a global leader in Titanium Technologies, Thermal & Specialized Solutions, and Advanced Performance Materials providing its customers with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. We deliver customized solutions with a wide range of industrial and specialty chemicals products for markets, including coatings, plastics, refrigeration and air conditioning, transportation, semiconductor and consumer electronics, general industrial, and oil and gas. Our flagship products are sold under prominent brands such as Ti-Pure™, Opteon™, Freon™, Teflon™, Viton™, Nafion™, and Krytox™. The company has approximately 6,200 employees and 28 manufacturing sites serving approximately 2,700 customers in approximately 110 countries. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed on the NYSE under the symbol CC.

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