Global warming software gets green light

Intelligent software that will help manufacturers to reduce their CFC emissions is now being developed by a group of British researchers.

Following the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts' (NESTA) decision to invest £80,000 in the project, the work can now begin on Quantemol, a powerful tool that will predict how molecules and electrons interact on a quantum subatomic level.

Scientists say this will have a far-reaching impact on a number of processes, such as the etching of silicon chips, which will in turn provide manufacturers with better information, helping them to minimise toxic CFC emissions considerably.

"Evaluation of electron-molecule collision is of considerable environmental importance," said co-inventor Daniel Brown. "Get the calculation wrong and you could produce noxious, toxic chemicals with very damaging consequences. Quantemol offers a straight-forward and cost effective breakthrough."

Our world is defined by quantum mechanics and electron-molecule interactions underpin a range of processes. However, knowledge of the chemistry and physics underlying these processes is still not complete enough and traditional methods of gaining this knowledge are time consuming and expensive.

Mr Brown conceded that the new software he was developing would be able to acquire data that had previously been unobtainable. He added that the technology would provide a useful tool for meeting targets set out by the Kyoto Protocol to phase out the use of certain gases by 2010.

"During the etching of silicone chips, greenhouse gases are only partially consumed so waste gases are emitted into the atmosphere. Our product offers cost effective and accurate calculations for reducing these emissions," he said.

By Jane Kettle



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