March 4th, 2015
Episode 176 of 705 episodes
Fluorine is itself a ferocious yellow gas, but is also the key building block for a string of other gases that pose a threat to mankind if released into the atmosphere. From the ozone-depleting CFCs to potent greenhouse gases such as sulphur hexafluoride, Justin Rowlatt gets the full rundown from Professor Andrea Sella of University College London and travels to the source of fluorine in Britain, before following the ore to the giant acid works in Runcorn in the UK. And he also hears about the environmental legacy of CFCs and the threat posed by Chinese and Indian air conditioners. And Justin speaks to Ian Shankland, the man who helped develop replacements for CFCs at US chemicals giant Honeywell, about why their latest refrigerant HFOs have upset German carmaker Daimler so much.