SAE International pours cold water on Daimler methods and says passenger risk of exposure to fire from new car refrigerant is ‘exceptionally remote’
The SAE International Cooperative Research Project team, formed last year to perform an updated engineering safety analysis of HFO 1234yf refrigerant has reported that it has has now ‘carefully evaluated the extensive testing conducted by its members’ and concluded it is safe and effective to use in automotive applications. The CRP team, comprising most car manufacturers including Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota, reported that “the risk of passenger exposure to a vehicle fire associated with this refrigerant is exceptionally remote
The SAE said CRP team members had conducted numerous additional tests of various types to study ignition of an R-1234yf leak in a crash-damaged vehicle and again concluded that the refrigerant release testing conducted by Daimler is unrealistic.
In another strong statement is said Daimler’s test is not an appropriate test to verify the safety of refrigerant applications in vehicles. The Daimler testing did not include any actual vehicle collisions or the mitigating factors that occur in an actual collision.”
It said these factors include the quenching effect of front end compartment deformation, the extinguishing effect of steam released due to radiator breakage, and dispersion of the refrigerant from the condenser outside the engine compartment. “Daimler’s refrigerant release apparatus and nozzle does not represent actual crash-damaged refrigerant lines, and was found to be artificial.”
The SAE CRP is currently finalising its report and said it is targeting June 2013 for publication.