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EC's scientists conclude 'no evidence of serious risk' from R1234yf refrigerant in cars

Keenly-awaited report from European Commission’s scientific arm definitively confirms that the HFO R1234yf poses no serious risk to the automotive industry. Commission now expected to up the ante in pursuing those who flout the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive by not installing the low-GWP refrigerant

A scientific review of the research by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre regarding the safety aspects of the use of refrigerant R1234yf in Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) systems has concluded that there is no evidence of a serious risk in the use of this refrigerant in MAC systems under normal and foreseeable conditions of use.

The EC is now expected to step up its actions against Germany, whose automotive manufacturers have refused to install the new refrigerant, and the UK, Belgium and Luxemburg, whose agencies did not enforce the Directive.”

The two companies manufacturing the refrigerant reacted to the news with clear relief.

Honeywell said: “The JRC’s independent and unimpeachable report marks the final word on the safety of this environmentally friendlier refrigerant, which automakers are using to comply with the EU Mobile Air Conditioning Directive.

The JRC provides independent scientific and technical advice to the European Commission to broadly support policy-setting activities. It oversees seven scientific institutes across Europe with a wide range of laboratories and research capabilities.

JRC came to its conclusion about the safety of R1234yf after a thorough and inclusive evaluation process of the extensive testing done by leading global automakers, independent test agencies and SAE International, the world’s foremost automotive engineering body.

The commission’s work leaves no doubt that R1234yf is safe for automotive applications”.

Honeywell said it continues to see strong adoption by global automakers of this new refrigerant as they work to meet new environmental regulations, especially in Europe, and the company is investing in production capacity to ensure adequate supply worldwide.

Du Pont said: “”DuPont is pleased with the final conclusions of the JRC, as they reinforce our high level of confidence that R1234yf can be used safely in automotive air conditioning. The JRC met with a range of stakeholders and conducted three public meetings to obtain input on the extensive safety testing that has been conducted on R1234yf for use as an automotive refrigerant.  The JRC focused, in particular, on the study conducted by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA). “KBA had concluded that its testing, based on the requirements of German product safety law, produced ‘no adequate evidence’ of a serious risk related to R1234yf. The JRC report went further, saying that these tests provided ‘no evidence’ of a serious risk.’

“While the KBA had conducted additional tests under more extreme conditions, the JRC raised questions about the real-life relevance of the testing conditions.  The JRC went on to say that it would not be appropriate to use the more extreme testing to draw conclusions regarding safety of the refrigerant.

“We note that multiple automotive industry groups, including the German Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK) representing 34 major car brands from all over the world and the SAE Cooperative research program comprising of 10 leading global automakers, have reached the same conclusion as the JRC that R1234yf can be safely used in automotive air conditioning.

“A growing number of cars on the road today use R1234yf  Automakers are using the refrigerant in cars sold in the European Union today, in compliance with the EU’s Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive.  Several automakers also are using the refrigerant for cars sold in the United States to take advantage of credits that encourage the use of products with reduced climate impact. We expect to see other automakers move to adopt the product.

“DuPont is pleased to see that the European Commission is taking steps to ensure compliance with the MAC Directive and to ensure conformance with applicable type approval registration processes.”


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