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Honeywell, Dupont Join Hands To Produce New Automotive Refrigerant

Potential alternative is said to meet new European environmental regulations.

| | Jun 20, 2010 | 2:36 pm
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Potential alternative is said to meet new European environmental regulations

Honeywell and DuPont announced last month, a manufacturing joint venture to produce a new refrigerant known as HFO- 1234yf, with presumably 99.7% lower global warming potential (GWP) than the current refrigerant. It is intended for use in automotive air conditioning systems.

The venture follows an earlier joint development agreement, under which the two companies developed the product. Under the agreement, DuPont and Honeywell will share financial and technological resources with the intent to jointly design, construct and operate a manufacturing facility for the new refrigerant. However, the two companies will market and sell the product separately.

The product, said the two partners, meets European Union regulatory requirements for lower GWP refrigerants for automobile air conditioning systems. Today’s 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, say DuPont and Honeywell, has a GWP of 4.

The joint venture will begin supplying the refrigerant in the fourth quarter of 2011 – prior to construction of the new facility – in time to meet the European Union regulatory requirement.

According to Honeywell and DuPont, they 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 partners claim that SAE testing has found that 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”.

“Through this manufacturing partnership, Honeywell and DuPont will deliver to the automobile industry this environmentally preferable solution that meets both operational and regulatory requirements,” said Terrence Hahn, Vice President and General Manager for Honeywell’s Fluorine Products business. “Globally, consumers will benefit from this new technology, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This complements Honeywell’s significant energy efficiency and environmental solutions portfolio.”

Gary W Spitzer, President, DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts, added: “The new refrigerant enables the automotive industry to reduce the environmental footprint of vehicles at significantly lower cost than alternatives. By working together with Honeywell, DuPont is confident we’ll have the winning combination to enable the industry to realise environmental benefits sooner.

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 kilogramme of refrigerant.

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