Honeywell has entered into a supply agreement with Asahi Glass Company Ltd. (AGC) to increase production for HFO-1234yf, a new refrigerant for automobiles with a global warming potential (GWP) of less than 1. This GWP is 99.9% lower than that of the current refrigerant in use, HFC-134a, and even lower than the GWP of CO2.
AGC will manufacture HFO-1234yf in Japan, and Honeywell will market the product to customers in the U.S, Europe and Asia. Under the agreement, AGC’s production is expected to begin in mid-2015.
Honeywell’s supply agreement with AGC will help us meet immediate demand for HFO-1234yf, which is steadily increasing in response to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the need to comply with regulations. We continue to work with our customers to anticipate long-term demand, which will be met by a new high-volume manufacturing plant we will build in Geismar, Louisiana. Manufacturing locations in both the US and Asia will provide automotive customers with improved supply chain reliability and security.—Ken Gayer, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Fluorine Products“
Last month, Honeywell announced that the company and its suppliers would invest about $300 million to increase capacity for HFO-1234yf, including building a new manufacturing plant for the refrigerant at Honeywell’s existing Geismar location. The plant will use new process technology and is expected to be fully operational in 2016. The exact size of the plant will depend on supply agreements that Honeywell is putting in place with major customers.
HFO-1234yf is being implemented by automakers in part to meet the EU MAC Directive, legislation that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of air-conditioning systems in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The directive requires that refrigerants in all new vehicle types sold in Europe after 1 Jan. 2013, have a global-warming potential (GWP) below 150. The most widely used refrigerant currently is a HFC-134a, with a GWP of 1,300.
All cars sold in Europe after 2017 must meet the new GWP requirement of less than 150. HFO-1234yf, with a GWP below 1, not only meets this requirement but is more than 99% below the new, stricter regulation.
Automakers in the US are also adopting HFO-1234yf to help comply with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and vehicle greenhouse gas standards, which aim to improve the average fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with cars and light trucks.
Nearly half a million cars are on the road today safely using HFO-1234yf, and by the end of 2014, the number of vehicles is expected to exceed 2 million.
Separately, Reuters Deutschland reports that the EU is beginning proceedings against Germany over that government’s failure to prevent Daimler from continuing to use R-134a while they company works on a CO2 solutions for MAC, rather than adopting R-1234yf. Daimler asserts that its testing shows that R-1234yf is a potential hazard.