Cite This: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018, 52, 2819−2826

Wang, Z., Y. Wang, J. Li, S. Henne, B. Zhang, J. Hu, and J. Zhang (2018), Cite This: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018, 52, 2819−2826 Impacts of the Degradation of 2,3,3,3-Tetrafluoropropene into Trifluoroacetic Acid from Its Application in Automobile Air Conditioners in China, the United States, and Europe, Environ. Sci. Technol., doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b05960.

HFO-1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoropropene) was proposed as an automobile air conditioner (MAC) refrigerant worldwide. However, its atmospheric degradation product is the highly soluble and phytotoxic trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), which persists in aquatic environments. We used a global three-dimensional chemical transport model to assess the potential environmental effects resulting from complete future conversion of the refrigerant in all MAC to HFO-1234yf in China, the United States, and Europe. The annual mean atmospheric concentrations of HFO1234yf were 2.62, 2.20, and 2.73 pptv, and the mean deposition rates of TFA were 0.96, 0.45, and 0.52 kg km−2 yr−1, in three regions. The regional TFA deposition sources mainly came from emissions within the same region. The annual TFA deposition in the North Pole region was lower than the global average and mainly originated from European emissions. A potential doubling in the future HFO-1234yf emissions in China mainly affected the local TFA depositions. The TFA concentrations in rainwater were strongly affected by the regional precipitation rates. North Africa and the Middle East, regions with scant rainfall, had extremely high TFA concentrations. The rainwater concentrations of TFA during individual rain events can exceed the level considered to be safe, indicating substantial potential regional risks from future HFO-1234yf use.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)