What is it about?

Tetrafluoromethane (CF4), also known as carbon tetrafluoride, is a permanent potent greenhouse gas, which is widely used in semiconductor manufacturing and is the main by-product released during the smelting of electrolytic aluminum and rare earth metals. Due to the lack of effective treatment means, the concentration of CF4 in the atmosphere has been increasing yearly. While thermal catalytic technology can decompose CF4, the high reaction temperature and low activity restrict its practical application. To achieve its highly efficient decomposition, we developed a novel strategy that efficiently activates C‒F bond utilizing proton donor (‒HSO4) modified Al2O3@ZrO2 (S-Al2O3@ZrO2) catalyst. The obtained S-Al2O3@ZrO2 catalyst achieved a stable 100% CF4 decomposition at 580 °C with a turnover frequency value of ~8.3 times higher than that before the modification, outperforming the previously reported results.

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Why is it important?

Tetrafluoromethane (CF4), the simplest and maximum concentrated perfluorocarbons in the atmosphere, is a permanently potent greenhouse gas with a remarkably high global warming potential of 7390 and extraordinarily long atmospheric lifetime of 50000 years. The highly symmetric and robust C‒F bond structure makes its activation a great challenge. Our research develops an efficient strategy for C‒F bond activation that enables efficient and stable decompose CF4 at a record low temperature.


Global warming has emerged as one of the most pressing concerns in the 21st century. Tetrafluoromethane (CF4) have alarmed widespread attention due to their potent greenhouse effects, and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism issued by European Union has listed CF4 among the greenhouse gases to be accounted for. Our findings hold significant promise in the context of global warming, offering practical and impactful solutions to combat the detrimental effects of greenhouse gases.

Min Liu
Central South University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Promoting C–F bond activation via proton donor for CF 4 decomposition, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2312480120.
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