Well this has been quite an incident-packed month in the cooling industry.
I have given up referring to the soap opera-like extremes in the car air conditioning saga as it only seems to encourage the protagonists. The latest plot twist – enter Greenpeace, environmental cheerleader and scourge of the refrigeration industry, to support refrigerant refusenik Daimler – came so far out of left field it reminded me of the day Patrick Duffy came back to life in Dallas, his murder having been a dream.
Perhaps soon I will wake up too and to find everyone is actually accepting the rules the EC laid down for them about half a decade ago.
In the past couple of months, the MAC Directive saga has escalated from a technology dispute among car manufacturers to a full-on test of the European Commission’s regulatory powers, or rather its ability to carry out its threats. It has gained the attention of the Eurosceptic brigade who naturally want to jump on any law that the Commission has the chutzpah to try to impose, whatever the environmental aims.
Despite all the noise from the UKIP wing, there is one thing we, as the air conditioning industry, need to make clear. Even if we do suppose Daimler really does have doubts over the safety of HFO 1234yf in certain conditions, it is important to emphasise that everyone else, including the research group for global carmakers, has given it a clean bill of health. Therefore we should move to correct any conversation that veers towards the ‘dangerous gas’ territory.
In this landscape, you have to admire Honeywell’s spirit for now publicly saying to Daimler “how about actually adapting your aircon system to channel the gas in a different direction, like every other carmaker is doing?” This after all is what Daimler would have to do to accommodate its preferred refrigerant, the potentially asphyxiant carbon dioxide.
The latest chapter, the emergence of a viable alternative in the form of R445A, can be seen in the News section. And things will undoubtedly have moved on by the time RAC lands on your desk.
Luckily you can still keep up to date with any developments at racplus.com. There’s far more news online these days than there is in the magazine – in the past week alone we’ve had four updates on the MAC story. There are a range of options for staying abreast of the news between magazine issues, including weekly newsletters and instant alerts on Twitter. If you haven’t tried it for a while, you may be surprised by how much we are posting.
In all the excitement I haven’t even mentioned the weather – I hope the demands of the heat-stressed UK end-user haven’t stretched you too much.
I haven’t addressed the Cooling Awards shortlist either (see pages 12-13). But this allows me to mention another new thing. I am now writing regular blogs online. My thoughts on the shortlist will be up there, alongside lots of other stuff. The beauty of blogging is it allows for interaction. So feel free to do so.