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Honeywell and DuPont Form JV To Manufacture Low GWP Refrigerant HFO-1234yf for Mobile AC

Honeywell and DuPont are forming a manufacturing joint venture to produce a the new refrigerant HFO-1234yf for use in automotive air conditioning systems. (Earlier post.) The new refrigerant has 99.7% lower global warming potential (GWP) than the current refrigerant.

Under the agreement, DuPont and Honeywell will share financial and technological resources with the intent to jointly design, construct and operate a world-scale manufacturing facility for the new refrigerant. The product meets European Union regulatory requirements for lower GWP refrigerants for automobile air conditioning systems. DuPont and Honeywell developed the product jointly but will market and sell it separately.

This venture follows an earlier joint development agreement under which the two companies developed the product. The joint venture announced today is designed to provide DuPont and Honeywell with a source of supply to meet the growing demand faster than would be possible through either company’s individual efforts.

Current automotive air conditioners use hydrofluorocarbon HFC-134a, which has a GWP of 1430. The European Union’s Mobile Air Conditioning Directive requires that, starting in 2011, all new vehicle models use a refrigerant with a GWP below 150, and by 2017, all new automobiles sold in Europe will be required to use a low-GWP refrigerant. The new refrigerant, developed by DuPont and Honeywell, has a GWP of 4, which is 97% less GWP than the new regulation requires.

Prior to construction of a world-scale plant, the joint venture will begin supplying the refrigerant in the fourth quarter of 2011 in time to meet the European Union regulatory requirement.

Honeywell and DuPont introduced HFO-1234yf to the automotive industry in 2007, and since then, it has undergone extensive testing for safety and efficacy by independent testing groups such as the SAE International Cooperative Research Program, in which leading automakers participate. The SAE testing found the product offers environmental performance superior to carbon dioxide, an alternative refrigerant, while having “the lowest risk for use in mobile air conditioning systems in meeting environmental and consumer needs.”

However, the SAE publication Automotive Engineering reports that concerns have been raised over HFO-1234yf implementation that could, unless there are significant policy changes, limit HFO-1234yf application to OE installations, and perhaps fewer than anticipated. The issues were raised during a meeting of the SAE Interior Climate Control Committee at the SAE 2010 World Congress in Detroit. Among the concerns raised were:

  • Cost. The refrigerant costs more to make and reportedly requires new plants, rather than conversion of a existing facilities. With the actual cost of producing HFO-1234yf unknown, the industry faces the problem of gaining acceptance for the refrigerant until production efficiencies and competition lower the cost closer to that of R-134a. The new Honeywell-DuPont JV will attempt to address some of those cost concerns.

  • Patent issues.

  • Integration of the new refrigerant into independent service shops.

The once clear-cut future to HFO-1234yf now is so murky that ICCC Chairman Ward Atkinson of Sun Test Engineering again raised the possibility of the secondary-loop system. In that, the refrigerant circuit is confined to under-hood, so a low-global-warming flammable refrigerant such as propane or the mildly flammable R-152a can be used in a protected environment. There it runs through a heat exchanger, chilling a liquid coolant, which then circulates through a passenger compartment (under-dash) heat exchanger.

HFO-1234yf is the preferred choice, even in Germany, where work on carbon dioxide (called R744 as a refrigerant) was mothballed to join what appeared to be a worldwide consensus. One quietly voiced hope: that we’re in a “lover’s spat” period, that agreements will come, including some R-134a taxation to reduce the price gap.

According to industry estimates, there are more than 400 million cars with air conditioning systems globally, with each system using between one half and one kilogram of refrigerant. Air conditioning systems using HFO-1234yf, developed by DuPont and Honeywell, are more energy efficient than carbon dioxide-based air conditioning systems, particularly at high ambient temperature conditions.




3M has HFE hydrofluorether engineered fluids that are used for electronics cooling. While they may not work in this application, they have less dwell time in the atmosphere and show what can be done with creative chemical engineering.


Amazing product with an ultra low GWP of only 4 + more efficient (xx %) than current refrigerants? This seems to be a win-win product.


HFO-1234yf is more energy efficient than carbon dioxide which is LESS energy efficient trhan R-134a which is LESS energy efficient than R-12.

HFO-1234yf is more cosly - How much more ?

R-134a has MUCH less GWP than R-12, but it is not zero.

Is Is it close enough to zero ? ?

Who cares, just tax it.


Global Warming is a figment of a some fevered greenies mindlessness. But hydroflourocarbons do have a very small effect on the ozone layer.

OTOH, the quick acquiescense to the Montreal Protocol by Dupont was based more than anyhting on having an opportunity by Dupont to sell a completely new refrigerant at high prices. That and the delicious prospect to all A/C makers that all the existing air conditioners in he world would be rendered obsolete and a new virgin market opened.

I notice nowhere was there a discussion of the loss in efficiency of the new refrigerent in comparison to the established ones, but much emphasi on a proposed and acknowledged poor efficiency alternative refrigerant.

The energy wasted in using this inefficient refrigerant will more than outweigh any possible environmental gain, is my likely surmise.

Henry Gibson

There has been a careful study of the use of high purity propane in existing automobile airconditioning systems. There is no appreciable additional danger in using a flamable refrigerant in automobiles according to research done in Australia. Lower insurance costs are predicted for the use of such propane systems because of the ease and cheapness of the propane and the simpler system.

If the use of cell phones whilst driving is not entirely prohibited then it is counter productive to spend money on complicated airconditioning fluids and equipment which will prevent far less mortality. As there is already liquid hydrocarbons in automobiles at high pressure, the additional danger due to half a kilo of propane is unmeasurable.

A slightly more expensive inside heat exchanger that does not use copper can eliminate any chance of leakage inside the cab. A double wall system is also easy to invent for the paranoid who choose, falsely, to think it will make automobile operation statistically safer.

Heavy low powered inefficient slow automobiles can be easily proved to cut automobile mortality and they are more logical to require than non flammable refrigerants.

Air conditioning systems should all be hermetically sealed electrical compressors operated directly from the windings of the alternator for high efficiency, long life and to eliminate refrigerant losses.

The lax enforcement of the prohibition of operating vehicles whilst under the influence of intoxicants or whilst distracted by electronic equipment is good reason to ignore the vanishingly small chance of damage from a propane airconditioning charge even if the general vastly greater danger of the operation of automobiles is ignored.

If people are allowed to operate motorcycles on motorways with their inherent high danger then people ought to be allowed to have cheap to repare and more efficient and vastly safer propane cooling systems. ..HG..


HG: The same could be said about NG powered cars.

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