SAE begins 4th cooperative research program on R-1234yf refrigerant after Daimler raises safety questions and balks at use
In October 2012, a fourth SAE International Cooperative Research Program (CRP) was launched by the automotive industry to further analyze the safety of the new low global warming potential (GWP) mobile air conditioner refrigerant, R1234yf. The participants in the 2012 R-1234yf CRP include Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.
The action comes after Daimler in September announced that findings from its internal investigations raised questions on the safe usage of R-1234yf as a replacement refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems and said that it would not use this chemical in its products. (Earlier post.)
Three prior SAE International CRPs related to R-1234yf began in 2007, and concluded three years later with a determination that the refrigerant can be used safely in vehicles that are designed for the new refrigerant. R1234yf was judged to be an acceptable alternative for mobile air conditioning systems while meeting new environmental and consumer needs. (Earlier post.)
In response to the latest Daimler vehicle tests, the new SAE International CRP will perform an updated engineering analysis based on the most recent information. This research team is working as quickly as possible to resolve this question and will issue interim reports as well as a final statement at the conclusion of the CRP’s activities.
These SAE International CRP activities are in response to the international regulations by the European Union that require all new type-approved vehicles to use a refrigerant with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) below 150. Current global mobile air conditioning systems use R-134a, a refrigerant having a GWP of approximately 1,430. R-1234yf has a GWP of four.