Issue: Apr 2011


New Low-Global-Warming Refrigerant Approved by U.S. EPA for Use in Cars



by James Hilton

Honeywell's new low-global-warming refrigerant for use in automobile air conditioning systems has received final approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The approval allows the refrigerant, HFO-1234yf, to be used in new cars in the U.S. HFO-1234yf has a global-warming-potential (GWP) that is 99.7 percent less than HFC-134a, the refrigerant currently used in most car air conditioning systems. The EPA granted the approval under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

"This is a significant step toward global adoption of this new refrigerant, which provides automakers with a near drop-in replacement for today's refrigerant while helping them meet new regulatory standards," said Terrence Hahn, vice president and general manager for Honeywell Fluorine Products.

The EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation last year adopted new standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty motor vehicles. Vehicle manufacturers can receive credit toward the standards for adopting refrigerants with less climate impact, such as HFO-1234yf.

"This new chemical helps fight climate change and ozone depletion," Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, said in a press release. "It is homegrown innovative solutions like this that save lives and strengthen our economy."

In addition to the new U.S. standards, the European Union has adopted the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive, which requires new vehicle models starting in 2011 to use a refrigerant with a GWP below 150. By 2017, all new automobiles sold in Europe will be required to use a low-GWP refrigerant.

HFO-1234yf has undergone extensive testing for safety and efficacy by independent testing groups such as the SAE International Cooperative Research Program, in which leading automakers participate.

The SAE testing found the product offers environmental performance superior to carbon dioxide, an alternative refrigerant, while having "the lowest risk for use in mobile air conditioning systems in meeting environmental and consumer needs."

According to industry estimates, there are more than 400 million cars with air conditioning systems globally, with each system using between one-half and one kilogram of refrigerant. Air conditioning systems using HFO-1234yf are more energy efficient than carbon dioxide-based air conditioning systems, particularly at high ambient temperature conditions. For more information about HFO-1234yf, visit www.1234facts.com.

Honeywell is also developing a range of low-global-warming refrigerants, blowing agents, solvents, aerosols and other materials for other applications and markets. For more information about Honeywell's low-GWP portfolio, visit www.abettercool.com.

Honeywell International (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell's shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.


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