Despite objections in Germany, DuPont says that most automakers are currently using the new low GWP refrigerant, not only to comply with the European MAC directive but also to voluntarily take advantage of US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) credits designed to encourage the use of products with reduced climate impact.
“The EPA credits alone provide enough incentive to automakers that we expect to see more than 50% of automobiles in the US market converted to HFO-1234yf by 2018,” said Thierry Vanlancker, president, DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts. “Of course, we expect higher conversion in the European market, driven by the need to comply with the MAC directive.”
With predictions that the US will follow the EU by eliminating the use of R134a in new vehicle air conditioning as early as this year and with Japan expected to announce an HFC phase-down schedule, DuPont expects an even greater uptake of the new refrigerant.
Meanwhile, the German industry continues to raise concerns about R1234yf due to its flammability and the potential production of dangerous byproducts in the event of a fire.
Despite being cleared as being safe by SAE International, Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority and the EU’s Joint Research Centre, opposition in Germany persists. Most recently, chemists at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich pointed at potential safety risks based on lab results showing formation of carbonyl fluoride from decomposition of this product through combustion.
“In reality, it has been well known for a long time that carbonyl fluoride can potentially form from decomposition of many fluorine-containing refrigerants, including HFC134a, which has been safely used in more than a billion vehicles over the last two decades,” said Mario Nappa, DuPont’s authority on fluorine chemistry. “Further, it is well documented in scientific literature that if carbonyl fluoride were to form in an extreme, theoretical case, it would exist for only a fraction of a second, not long enough to put people at risk.”
Industry scorns new R1234yf toxicity claims – 9th April, 2014
USA and GERMANY: The bickering over R1234yf continues with German chemists making new toxicity claims and US engineers and Honeywell reaffirming its safety. Read more…
SAE challenges 1234yf fire tests – 19th February, 2014
BRUSSELS: The automotive engineers body SAE International has challenged claims by the German environmental group DUH that R1234yf produces dangerous levels of toxic hydrogen fluoride (HF). Read more…
German greens call for ban on R1234yf – 31st January, 2014
GERMANY: The influential German green group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) has accused the EU of ignoring the safety risks of R1234yf and has called for a Europe-wide ban on its use. Read more…
EC issues proceedings against Germany – 23rd January, 2014
BELGIUM: As expected, the European Commission has issued an infringement notice against Germany for failing to enforce the MAC directive. Read more…