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Sponsors of SAE Study Conclude HFO-1234yf Can Be Used As Low-GWP Global Replacement Refrigerant in MAC Systems
10 November 2009
A two-year Cooperative Research Program conducted through SAE International to investigate the safety and environmental performance of the low-global-warming-potential (GWP) refrigerant HFO-1234yf for mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems has finished its study.
Based on these results, the sponsors of the SAE CRP 1234 have concluded that HFO-1234yf can be used as the global replacement refrigerant in future mobile air conditioning systems and it can be safely accommodated through established industry standards and practices for vehicle design, engineering, manufacturing, and service. The report is the third SAE report to evaluate the new refrigerant.
Issues concerning HFO-1234yf investigated in CRP 1234 included; safety and risk assessment; air-conditioning system efficiency and performance; material compatibility; flammability; and toxicity. HFO-1234yf is a non-Ozone Depleting Substance with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 4. In comparison, the current refrigerant, R-134a, has a GWP of 1,430.
From the evaluation and test results it has been concluded that HFO-1234yf can be safely accommodated through established industry standards and practices for vehicle design, engineering, manufacturing, and service.
As part of the studies, the automotive industry conducted evaluations on a variety of vehicle applications. Additional testing and research was conducted at internationally recognized laboratories to verify worldwide acceptance for one common global replacement refrigerant.
The vehicle OEMs evaluated the investigations conducted by Gradient LLC (USA); Exponent Engineering and Scientific Consulting (USA); Creative Thermal Solutions [CTS] (USA); Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques [INERIS] (France); Institut fur Luft und Kaltetechnik - Dresden [ILK- Dresden] (Germany); TNO (The Netherlands); Underwriters Laboratories (USA); WIL Research Laboratories (USA); Det Norske Veritas (Norway/Japan); Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences (USA); and Hughes Associates Inc. (USA).
The results from the CRP1234 programs that investigated the new refrigerant for use in mobile air conditioning systems (cars and light trucks) are available on-line.
Extensive testing supported by multimillion dollar (USA) funding and in-kind support for SAE CRP1234 projects has been provided by 15 vehicle OEMs (from China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sweden, UK, and USA) and 18 Tier one suppliers (from Asia, Europe, and USA).
In August, HFO-1234yf received approval to be imported and used in Japan. (Earlier post.)
Honeywell, in collaboration with DuPont (earlier post), developed HFO-1234yf in response to the European Union’s Mobile Air Conditioning Directive, which requires that all new vehicles produced starting in 2011 use a refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) below 150. This new refrigerant is part of a larger platform of low-GWP refrigerants and blowing agents that Honeywell is developing.
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