JAPAN: Sanden, one of Japan’s leading automotive component manufacturers, has confirmed that it is now supplying compressors for use in Daimler’s promised CO2 car air conditioning systems.

The German car manufacturer, which has widely reported safety concerns over the use of “mildly flammable” R1234yf, has been taking delivery of the CO2 compressors from Sanden’s Yattajima plant since May. The creation of the compressor is the result of a joint Japan-Germany development team established in 2014 was said to have been accomplished in record time. 

Daimler had previously refused to use R1234yf – the only refrigerant that was commercially available that complied with the European MAC directive that all new marques of cars must use a refrigerant with a GWP below 150.

While eventually relenting, the German car manufacturer promised to offer production passenger cars equipped with CO2 air conditioning systems in its S- and E-Class cars in Europe from this year, before rolling out CO2 across the range.

“Daimler chose Sanden for the development of the R744 compressor because of their extensive experience with this refrigerant and pioneering spirit towards new technologies,” explained Dr Ralf Theurer, project leader R744 of Daimler AG.

“It has been quite a challenging project also for Daimler to get the R744 AC system launched in such short period,” he admitted, stressing the importance of the strategic partnership with Sanden.

Proud of the co-operation with Daimler, Tsuguo Ito, president of Sanden Automotive Components Corporation, said “My target is to expand this technology and use the knowledge gained throughout the development to grow in a sustainable manner in the world market.”

Sanden was able to call on its experience with applying CO2 technology in a wide range of refrigeration products, including refrigerated display cases and vending machines, to overcome the high pressure characteristics of CO2.

The result is said to be a product with a cooling performance and function exceeding conventional compressors with one fifth of capacity (31cc). The size and weight of the compressor is also said to be equivalent to a traditional R134a car air conditioning compressor.

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