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back to article 'HD TV gas' 17,000 times worse for planet than CO2, claims boffin

LCD TVs, praised as being greener than old-style tellies because they consume much less power, may actually be speeding climate change, a chemical expert has warned. Michael Prather of the University of California at Irvine has completed a study which claims that atmospheric quantities of the gas Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3) are …

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tit-le

I thought dihydrogen monoxide was the number one GHG... tho I know this is by volume and not by effeciency.

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Anonymous Coward

derrr

This NF3 can't be bad it isn't CO2 and as we all know (well acording to the carbon cult anyway) all we should worry about is CO2 (not Methane, Sulphur Dioxide, this NF3 or well anything but CO2.) And these new TV's mean less CO2, who cares about your NF3? Not the cult that's for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

shhh shouldn't be shouting about this stuff

Your only gonna get the old Cost effective labour trying tax us on HD tv now lol

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Anonymous Coward

Lower power

"...LCD TVs, praised as being greener than old-style tellies because they consume much less power"

No they bloody don't!!

Most of them (especially anything of any appreciable size) chuck out enough heat to toast your crumpets with.

In contract most modern CRT displays (not that you can get them any more) are actually pretty good in comparison.

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But SF6 is so much fun

Wonderful stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIXEzj08MwE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjCmwuGKR6g

Efros

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Anonymous Coward

Care less...

Thanks to all the incessant enviro-ranting I've become desensitized to the whole thing.

I now give 1/17000th of a shit.

Harmony is restored.

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Dead Vulture

Irony

I love the irony of 'Ads by Google' offering me no less than 6 HD TVs in an article that is saying how awful they are to the environment.

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Wonky science and unfair to TVs

Blimey, where to start?

First of all, according to Wankypedia: "Note, no one knows where the 17,200 times figure came from."

Second, this stuff is used in plasma etching all sorts of things, not just TV panels.

Third, I guess the ratio of CO2 to NF3 is somewhat higher than 17,200:1 (like, orders of magnitude higher) but it is only a guess because nobody knows how much NF3 is released into the atmosphere anyway.

And fourth, has he done any research to see if the nasty chip and telly makers spout all their NF3 into the air anyway?

This bloke sounds like the Chicken Little of the scientific community. Wake me up when you have some facts.

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Gold badge

Is there a chemist in the house?

It's been a couple of decades since I did any chemistry, so I googled and found http://encyclopedia.airliquide.com/sds/en/091_AL_EN.pdf which contains the following statements (amongst others)...

"Strongly supports combustion. May react violently with combustible materials."

"Gas/vapour heavier than air. May accumulate in confined spaces, particularly at or below ground level."

"No known ecological damage caused by this product. Global warming factor [CO2=1]: 8000"

I've included the third mostly because I found it amusing, but partly because 8000!=17200. The first two, however, suggest that this stuff isn't going to be around for long enough to cause any trouble. I'm *quite* sure that Michael Prather's chemistry is better than mine, but the facts made public by El Reg do not establish the risk claimed in the headline. Not for the first time, I find myself reading about a scientific paper and wondering what the original paper said.

I presume that the latest edition of Geophysical Research Letters is not freely online. I have no gripes with that, but it does mean that the general public have to just trust the reporters, who are clearly leaving stuff out.

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Me
Go

And Next....

Next step would be to create a comparison between the different devices.

Anyone?

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Scientists. Meh!

I was kicked out of 2 year college after my first year and even I know that this greenhouse danger stuff is all just a bunch of semi-communist scientist freaks who want to make everybody poor. If all the big companies have to change how they do things, they won't pay their employees as much and then those employees won't pay me as much to fix their cars and install fences (i work at a garage and after hours, do landscape construction). Why do the communists hate me? Why do they want me to make less than $30,000 a year?

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Paris Hilton

LCD vs CRT

LCDs do NOT consume less power than CRTs. Maybe comparing 15" LCD monitors to 15" CRTs (anyone remember those?) started this legend but that is not true anymore. My 21" CRT TV was 60W, now I have a 32" LCD that uses 90W at half-backlight and 150W at full. And I'm pretty sure most people who "upgrade" their "tubes" go up a few inches on the screen size at the same time, so forget about any energy savings. And it's only going to get worse with LCDs as they get bigger (52" - 300W).

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Is the NET EFFECT important?

I understand that comparable quantities of NF3 may be far nastier than of CO2, but is there actually enough of the NF3 being produced to make a difference? Humankind now produces about 30 billion tonnes of CO2; comparable warming from NF3 would require about 1.7 million tonnes.

But the biggest US producer right now makes only about a thousandth that much (2000 tonnes annually), so I'm guessing worldwide that NF3 warming is still way under one percent of total CO2 warming.

Anyone care to do the numbers properly?

bill

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Bronze badge

Unintended consequences.

Left hand, meet right hand. You win some, you lose some. Maybe "next time" when they have unrealistic goals, they will include "world peace" as well. Might as well go for broke!

Of course, I prefer a good old CRT. Thankfully it contains a vacuum inside which compensates for other things.

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Boffin

Less energy? Which one?

Please be more accurate and state which LCDs supposedly consume less energy than CRTs and where to acquire them. I, like other commenters, am rather under the impression that they are dual function devices that come with a built-in heater. Which is part of why I still refuse to get one.

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E

@Glenn

"I was kicked out of 2 year college after my first year ..."

Well then, you'll be an expert. eh?

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Does it really matter though?

As long as we can watch news reports in HD, telling me how high the water is outside my house boat, and whether the day's smog is worse than smoking so a swim to work isn't a great idea.. why would I care about global warming?

Remember, it's far more important that someone develop a gadget to tell us the distance between our boats and the land on which we used to walk than some nancy boy alternative energy or green tvs.

The world loves a good gadget, and all this boring talk of global warming won't hold our attention as long as the supply of gadgets keeps coming.

You see the great thing about gadgets is the conundrum they pose. We get the feeling they could be really useful for something, but can't quite put our finger on what.

Now if I had a remote control that not only controlled my beautiful HDTV, but could operate the kettle, oven and refrigerator, why would we care about a few tons of harmless earth warming gas?

Besides, the threat of terrorism is surely much more important. Global warming might destroy the world, but terrorists could nearly kill someone, especially if they could find a competent terrorist outside of Iraq.

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The numbers, properly

Using 4,000 tonnes as the killer death gas output (assuming it all is released into the sky every year, which the industry says it isn't, but let's pretend) with an efficiency factor of 17,200, we get the equivalent of 68,800,000 tonnes of CO2.

If the world's annual CO2 output in 2004 was 26.9 x 10^9 tonnes, we get 0.2558% more greenhouse effect.

Not insignificant, but worrying about that is like darning a hole in your pocket when the entire seat of your pants is ripped and your bum is hanging out.

/sartorial similie ftw

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Flame

Heat is good....

in a cold climate....

That ceiling mounted projector heating my room means the house heating does not come on as much while watching a film....

balance is restored.....

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Flame

@Andy Bright

Even according to the most frothy-mouthed AGW pessimists, global warming is NOT going to destroy or flood the world.

Stop watching 'Waterworld' on loop and please kill yourself now for spouting such absurd drivel, you fuckwit.

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Joke

@JonB

"I now give 1/17000th of a shit."

So you are at least polluting the planet less.

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Silver badge

Numbers done properly

Comparing global CO2 vs global NF3 is pointless, except for patting the alarmed citizens on the head.

What is more important is looking at the effect on a per product basis: If 17200*NF3 used to make flat telly < CO2 saved by using flat telly then usingNF3 is a winner. Perhaps not green as grass, but less grey.

... assuming you buy into the Global Warming thing.

@Drew: Thanks for not including pictures.

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Pirate

@Ken Hagan

"Gas/vapour heavier than air. May accumulate in confined spaces, particularly at or below ground level."

Well, then we don't have much to worry about NF3 accumulating in the upper atmosphere. I would guess that gas at or below ground level isn't going to be much of a factor even if you accept that the "greenhouse effect" is real.

This stuff also appears to be fairly reactive therefore, it isn't going to hang around for long like CO2 and CFCCs.

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Power savings

Regarding the power savings, it looks like it all depends on what size you're talking about. I've measured my equipment with a power meter, and I can say that my Samsung 19" LCD monitor uses 30W max whereas my KDS 19" CRT monitor used 91W typical in graphics mode, higher in text modes, and sometimes up to 229W. So for 19" (and presumably smaller), LCD definitely seems to be more energy-efficient.

I have a non-HD 52" projection TV I bought around June 2000 that uses 130-170W on and 25W sleep, and since I can't justify the expense of replacing it until it stops working, I haven't looked at TVs since then. Based on my experience with LCD monitors, I was expecting LCDs to be more energy-efficient in larger sizes as well. My 27" non-HD 1.33:1 CRT TV uses up to 75W (0.214W/sqin). A Samsung 27" 16:9 LCD TV I just looked up uses 110W according to their specs (0.353W/sqin). I tried looking at a lot of other LCD TVs, too, but couldn't find any power usage listed (either on stores' or manufacturers' websites).

It looks like LCD panels don't "scale" very well in terms of energy efficiency or power savings over CRT. So if you're getting a small TV for a bedroom, LCD would probably be more energy-efficient. Anything larger, though, and it looks like CRT is more energy-efficient. Space consumption, placement, and aesthetics, however, are another issue.

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Coat

Umm... we may want some more of that...

http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature%20Monitors%20Report%20Worldwide%20Global%20Cooling/article10866.htm

Mine's the one with the mammoth fur lined hood.

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Bronze badge

What Sulfur Hexaflouride is used for

It's a good electrical insulator, so Van de Graaf generators that produce very high voltages for use as particle accelerators are insulated with it. I don't know if they're using it over at CERN for that rather larger accelerator of theirs, but apparently, then, that gas is associated with boffinry.

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Coat

Not to be too much of a pain ...

But are you Brits TRYing to increase global warming?

First it's "rumour" instead of "rumor" and now "tonnes" instead of "tons". All of those extra characters add up, you know.

Mine's the coaght with the exxtra pockkettes filled with NF3.

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LCD's environmental advantage over CRT

May be more related to all that lead that they don't contain...

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Paris Hilton

You had better care

Not caring about what the environuts are spewing is a quick way to disaster. You will wake up one morning to find stupid, corruption, and bad science have all been legislated, forcing you to conform to nonsensical requirements that look good on the surface but ignore deeper factors.

Paris, she doesn't ignore the deeper factors.

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Joke

All that extra power....

I fitted my 32" LCD with a UV backlight, now I am a geek with a tan.

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Coat

Pedant mode - on

It's not "HD TV gas", it's "LCD gas". I have an HD TV thanks very much, but it's a CRT so immune from all that nonsense. Don't tar me with yer enviro-brush!!

Pedant mode - off

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Paris Hilton

ironic advertising?

thanks for posting a advert of "Most Wanted TVs" next to this article. mmmm toastie warm.

Paris cos she's hot too.

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I'm sure...

...that if the ecomentalists had proper jobs, they too would have LCD TVs.

In the mean time, where's the re-runs of Dallas so I can see how life should be lived!

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@anonymous coward

Touche my cowardly friend. So you deny the truth of the Water World documentary? Well you seem to have forgotten the prime truth your right wingnut legions hold dear to their hearts. 'If its on TV it must be true'.

So I say a loud 'Huzzah' for the anonymous fuckwits that can't tell the difference between light-hearted banter and serious comments.

Still, what if I did think Water World was real? At least its better than believing that the world is only 10,000 years old, all humans came from an incestuous duo (explain exactly who the children of Adam and Eve fucked to make more children) and that dinosaurs are both dragons and lived along side human beings. Oh perhaps you think children arrive via stork or even that God simply makes more of them as required. No doubt the world is also flat, at the center of the 10,000 yr old universe and is circled by the Sun, stars and any other planetary bodies you can manage to bring yourself to believe exists.

Next time some right wingnut wants to comment on the satanic magics the rest of us call Science, why not instead keep your thoughts for the comment slips of your favourite creationist theme park.

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Deceiving the general public over power use between LCD TVS, and CRT TVs.

LCD TVs, praised as being greener than old-style tellies because they consume much less power.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Where do you get your facts and figures for this?... A CRT television consumes considerably less power than LCD TVs

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@James Butler

You should note, than a Tonne is a different weight from a Ton...

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The solution...

Chuck that kin telly in the chuifing bin ... all it has ever done is fry your brain to the point that you dont ever have any original ideas of your own ... throw it away and read books.

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Joke

@James Butler

Gd pnt. We shd al folo th merkn xmpl, & xtnd it as fr as pssbl. :)

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Stop

More scientists trying to be famous

Ok, so another study comes to the conclusion that <insert any modern day gadget or activity> "MAY" be causing damage to our planet.

Here's my plan for a study into global warming and climate change effects. Please contact me with grants and subsidies for me to carry out this important investigation for the good of all humanity:-

1. Find a gas or substance that is bad for humans, animals, fish, birds, reptiles, insects, plants, trees, the atmosphere or just the environment in general.

2. Find a modern day product or activity that produces or uses above gas/substance. This product must either be a modern day product, or an older one that is now being produced in much higher numbers to ensure a correlation between this product and the eventual demise of the planet.

3. Come to the conclusion that this product "may" be having an effect on our health, well-being, planet, solar system or universe in general.

4. Bank my research grant cheque and send the report to MP's who will back my campaign save the planet because it's just the done thing to do these days (and may win them a few extra green votes).

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Hmmmmmm...

I smell future taxes!

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Heart

@ Alan W. Rateliff, II

Oy! It's our language! Get yer own!

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Anonymous Coward

@James Butler

And why is a US Pint Less than than proper Pint?

Its not saving the planet its ripping you off!

Ton & Tonne, one is metric one is imperial and I'm not telling you which is which!

As for extra letters, the u's are there to indicate the subtle difference in pronunciation, kind of like the L in solder. (its there to be used not ignored) but Merkins dont do subtle, so they ignore them. (note Merkin is usage with unessacery letters removed (its baen amerkinised))

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Off Topic!

"Besides, the threat of terrorism is surely much more important. Global warming might destroy the world, but terrorists could nearly kill someone, especially if they could find a competent terrorist outside of Iraq."

Sounds like a great idea for a reality TV programme; "Britain's Got Terror", you could get a load of disaffected morons to demonstrate what a great terrorist they'd be. The winner gets their demands met and the losers go to GITMO...

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Boffin

Research article

For those of you interested, the abstract is here:

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL034542.shtml

Unfortunately, even with my Institutional Access, I can't download the full article, but the abstract has some useful info despite the spelling errors (metric tonnes, not 'metric tons').

They claim that NF3 production is equivalent to 67M tonnes of CO2, which although is a very small proportion of the total GHG emissions its long lifetime of >500yr is a worry. Where they get the emission data from is not explicit, but must be a prediction as there's no global monitoring of the gas. Big pinch of salt required, then...

BTW @AC re: @Ken Hagen -> CO2 is also heavier than air, hence why it is used in fire extinguishers, so the fact that NF3 is also heavier than air is not cause to not worry...

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Black Helicopters

LIES

AL GORE IS LYING TO YOU.

THERE IS NO MANBEARPIG.

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Silver badge
Alert

Confusion?

Has someone got the wrong end of the stick?

Sure, NF3 is a greenhouse gas, but as correctly pointed out above, 4000 tonnes of it per annum is insignificant compared to CO2, and probably not persistent.

However, if it persists long enough to transport Flourine into the ozone layer (a few years), then (like CFCs) it's an ozone-destroyer, and needs to be very carefully watched.

One other point, just because a gas is heavier than air it does not mean that it does not diffuse through air and ultimately mix with the atmosphere. If heavy gases just sank to the floor then CO2 (also heavier than air) would have sufficated everyone living at sea-level by now.

And a Tonne is a metric unit (1000 kg), a Ton is an old imperial one (20 cwt or 2240 lbs). They're near enough the same for rough and ready comparisons.

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Anonymous Coward

Saving the world!

>"Strongly supports combustion. May react violently with combustible materials."

The solution therefore is to burn the telly once you're done with it.

PROBLEM SOLVED.

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@ Andy Bright

"No doubt the world is also flat" This is a myth you muppet! There is NO evidence whatsoever this was believed by... well... ANYONE, EVER! *mumbles* bloody pseudo-scientific "facts" that get repeated by every man and his dog because it was on the fecking telly so must be true... *sigh*

In the middle ages, which is popularly believed to be when people thought the world was flat, the inhabitants of that era actually knew the world to be spherical - although Christopher Columbus thought it was pear shaped.

[/pedant mode]

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Cows

The numbers might be bad, but the quantities ain't.

Cows still are the biggest issue for greenhouse effect and methane in particular.

@Steve sherlock

Lucky devil, it only offered me 5 Flat screen TV's but I did get an mp3 player and mobile phone as well.

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Re: @James Butler

Sry, tht shd b "z fr z pssbl". Plz lrn propr mrkn mi gd man, s langwj v th net dntcha no

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