Demand from automotive industry for low-GWP refrigerants encourages manufacturer to bring ‘high volume plant’ onstream in US in 2016 and to consider a European plant to follow.
Honeywell announced has announced it will expand its production of HFO 1234yf with a $300 million investment in a new, high-volume manufacturing plant at the company’s existing Geismar, Louisiana, refrigerants manufacturing site. The site is expected to be fully operational in 2016. The exact size of the plant will depend on supply agreements that Honeywell is putting in place with major customers, the company said.
Andreas Kramvis, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies said: “Demand for HFO 1234yf is increasing around the world in response to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the need to comply with the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive in Europe and Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations in the US.”
“After many years of analysis by the automotive industry, policymakers and environmental groups, it is clear that HFO 1234yf is a safe, effective and robust solution to address global warming and fuel efficiency. Honeywell’s investments will ensure adequate supply to meet growing demand.
The firm said nearly half a million cars are on the road today using HFO 1234yf.
Mr Kramvis added: “A significant portion of European demand for R134a is currently supplied from the US, so our new production plant in Louisiana will mirror this arrangement, However, Honeywell is also looking at the possibility of building a plant in Europe, but this will be driven by demand and the requirements of that market.”
All cars sold in Europe after 2017 must meet the new GWP requirement of less than 150. HFO 1234yf, with a GWP below 1, not only meets this requirement but is more than 99 percent below the new, stricter regulation, .the company said.
Honeywell said automakers in the US are also adopting the refrigerant to help comply with CAFE and vehicle greenhouse gas standards, which aim to improve the average fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with cars and light trucks. The. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows automakers to receive credits for using HFO 1234yf.
The firm added that third-party data shows that HFO 1234yf’s widespread adoption globally would have the greenhouse gas equivalent of permanently removing more than 30 million cars from the road worldwide, or about 3 per cent of the total global fleet.
Earlier this year, Honeywell announced the launch of packaging operations for HFO-1234yf in Japan to better serve the market in Asia.and it said it ‘continues to develop a global infrastructure to support its global customer base.’