WILMINGTON, DE DuPont this week announced that is has achieved “significant” progress toward the development and commercialization of a new refrigerant for automotive air conditioning that the company says will offer considerably lower global warming potential than hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) R-134a, which is used today.
The new refrigerant candidate, hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO)-1234yf, is the product of a joint development agreement between DuPont and Honeywell, which have been working closely with automotive manufacturers and their suppliers to conduct extensive safety, environmental and performance testing.
According to DuPont, use of HFO-1234yf refrigerant in new cars has the potential to save more than 2200 million liters (about 590 million gallons) of fuel annually the equivalent of taking approximately 1.5 million cars off the road each year, compared to R-134a.
“This development is critical to reduce the total environmental footprint associated with car air conditioning systems, and DuPont is pleased to report that current data supports the safe use of HFO-1234yf in mobile air conditioning systems globally,” said Cynthia Green, vice president and general manager — DuPont Fluoroproducts.
“As HFO-1234yf is evaluated by automotive manufacturers in the United States, Europe, Japan and Asia, support continues to strengthen. In addition to safety, the new refrigerant offers a favorable environmental profile, compatibility with existing mobile air conditioning technology, and could enable automotive OEMs to meet the 2011 European Union regulatory deadline imposed on mobile air conditioning to begin the phase out of HFC technologies.”
DuPont says HFO-1234yf offers several unique attributes that make it an ideal candidate to replace R-134a for automotive air conditioning, including a lower total environmental impact than other alternatives as measured by Life Cycle Climate Potential (LCCP) due to the combination of its extremely low global warming potential and high energy efficiency.
DuPont claims it performs well in all regions with different climates and offers the most cost-effective transition away from HFC technology because it is highly compatible with current mobile air conditioning technology.
Although specific plans have not yet been announced pending commercial agreements, DuPont is developing plans for HFO-1234yf production that would allow automotive manufacturers to meet the 2011 timeframe imposed by the EU directive.