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Andrew Gaved, Editor

General Motors to use new car refrigerant from 2013

Cadillac drivers will be among the first in the US to experience the cooling effect of the refrigerant HFO-1234yf, following the decision by General Motors to install the low-GWP gas on its US models from 2013.

Developer Honeywell claims a 99.7 per cent improvement on the GWP of the gas it replaces, R134a.

In Europe, the MAC Directive requires R134a to be phased out from new models by 2011, but GM is the first US carmaker to announce replacement plans.

On average, Honeywell said, R-134a has an atmospheric life of more than 13 years, giving it a GWP of 1,430. By comparison, the new refrigerant stays in the atmosphere for just 11 days and has a GWP of only 4,

The use of HFO-1234yf will help GM vehicles significantly exceed US greenhouse gas regulatory targets, which require an overall 40 per cent improvement in overall US fleet average vehicle fuel economy by 2016. 

Honeywell has formed a joint venture with DuPont to build the first production plant for 1234yf in Zhonghao,China, which will start supplying gas from late 2011.

 

Readers' comments (2)

  • GM toxic dependance on 1234yf for car air conditioning?

    General Motors has just announced its intention to use the new chemical refrigerant HFC1234yf in the air-conditioning systems of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac from 2013 onwards. The chemical manufacturers Honeywell and DuPont supply the substance and claim it to be an environmental friendly decision, when in reality it is everything but.

    Honeywell’s and DuPont’s new revenue stream comes at the cost of human safety and environmental protection. Tests by different independent bodies point to results that have found HFC1234yf to be not only flammable at low concentrations in air but also encompassing incalculable risks for humans if vented into the vehicle compartment. The environmental impact of HFC1234yf comes when, vented into the atmosphere, it decomposes into trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) which, leached out from the atmosphere by the rain, develops a herbicide effect.
    To date, natural refrigerant technologies based on CO2 and hydrocarbons have proven to be reliable, safe for passengers and the environment. This makes the decision by GM to opt for HFC1234yf all the more incomprehensible.

    On top of this, DuPont and Honeywell hold the patents for this substance in all major markets, which gives them the power to dictate the price and makes car manufacturers totally dependent on them.

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  • r12 was a good freon all they had to do is take it of the shelf from the consumer and recycle it , have only licensed technicians handle it . the same with r22 recycle it is a closed unit and most homeowners do not fool with it, bottom line it is all to do with making money dupont held patent on r12 and it ran out I beleive they hold patent on 134a also and now build a plant in China come on guys what happen to the USA it is all about money!

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