HFO-1234yf news

HFO-1234yf, developed by DuPont and Honeywell as a substitute for HFC-134a in mobile air-conditioning applications in response to EU 2006/40 Directive which bans the use of refrigerants with a GWP higher than 150 in new types of vehicles by January 1, 2011, was the subject of much discussions over the past few months. - On May 20, the German automotive association (VDA) announced it would follow other carmakers in their choice of R-1234yf, turning its back on CO2 as best choice as a refrigerant in MAC, adopted in 2007. - Yet, during the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) World Congress in April 2010, HFO-1234yf had faced opposition. According to SAE, "unless there are significant policy changes, it could be limited to original equipment (OE) installations, and perhaps fewer than anticipated". Long-standing objections have focused on the anticipated refrigerant cost, which the US EPA estimates initially at at least 15 times the current refrigerant price for R-134a. The manufacturing of HFO-1234yf will require new plants rather than conversion of existing facilities and no chemical company has built a new plant yet. However, Honeywell and DuPont announced on May 21 a manufacturing joint venture with the intent to jointly design, construct and operate a manufacturing facility in Changshu, China, to produce HFO-1234yf by the fourth quarter of 2011. A further complication is that at least one leading refrigerant supplier, Arkema, is unwilling to commit to R-1234yf until all patent issues are resolved. Carmakers will install HFO-1234yf in systems upgraded to deal with the refrigerant's mild flammability. However, studies indicate that the same systems also could be run with HFC-134a at similar performance levels. Further, work is being done to use the same polyalkylene glycol (PAG) oil with both refrigerants. That would raise the question of HFO-1234yf use in the service industry, maybe in Europe and certainly in the US where legally car dealers will be able to service HFO-1234yf with any refrigerant on the EPA SNAP list which includes R-134a and other refrigerants approved for CFC-12 retrofit. Source: JARN, June 25, 2010 www.sae.org/mags/AEI/8074