Germany has been involved in long-running opposition to R1234yf, the low GWP HFO refrigerant which is at present the only suitable alternative under the European MAC directive to R134a.
The latest controversy appears to have stemmed from claims by automotive refrigerant diagnostic equipment supplier BG Deutschland/Österreich H Heinzer that R1234yf is extremely sensitive to UV rays. Claiming that the new low GWP refrigerant breaks down under UV radiation.
In response Honeywell has claimed that the effect of UV radiation on R1234yf is only minor and similar to the effect that UV has on R134a.
“This similarity in terms of stability of both refrigerants has been scientifically established and repeatedly confirmed by studies carried out by the Japanese National Metrology Institute or the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado in the United States,” Honeywell claimed.
The refrigerant manufacturer emphasised that R134a had been used for years with no problem, and pointed out that in any case both R1234yf and 134a disintegrate in the atmosphere due to OH radicals and not by UV radiation.
Germany continues to kick against the introduction of R1234yf. With R134a being banned in Europe under the MAC directive, the German car industry originally backed CO2 as its preferred replacement but fell into line with the rest of the world when R1234yf became the preferred option elsewhere.
In 2012 Daimler announced that it would not be using the new refrigerant after it claimed that tests it had carried out showed it to be dangerously flammable. The claims were strongly refuted by independent tests including those by engineers body SAE International.