Honeywell has issued a statement saying the company is confident that SAE International will reconfirm that HFO-1234yf, Honeywell’s new low global warming-potential automotive air conditioning refrigerant, is safe for automotive use.
SAE International, in announcing an update on its fourth and latest Cooperative Research Project (CRP) on the refrigerant, reported last week that, “To date, the majority of the OEMs involved in the new CRP do not believe that any of the new information reviewed will lead to a change in the overall risk assessment.”
“With the exception of Daimler, no OEM in the CRP has provided information that would suggest a concern for the safe use of R-1234yf in their vehicles,” the statement from SAE International said.
“Based on (the) announcement, Honeywell continues to believe that SAE International’s latest evaluation will only reconfirm the overwhelming body of data – including rigorous and comprehensive studies conducted in Europe, the U.S. and Japan – that have clearly and repeatedly determined that HFO-1234yf is safe for use in automobiles,” said Dr. Ian Shankland, chief technology officer for Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. “HFO-1234yf is a safe and effective refrigerant, and it is better for the environment.”
HFO-1234yf is a low-global-warming refrigerant that was developed as a direct replacement to HFC-134a in mobile air-conditioning applications. Compared with HFC-134a, HFO-1234yf offers a 99.7 percent improvement in global warming potential and far exceeds the European Union Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive requirement.
However, concerns were raised by both Daimler and Volkswagen in recent months, due to the fact that under certain conditions, which Honeywell described as “rare,” HFO-1234yf exhibits mild flammability. According to Honeywell, that flammability is exhibited at levels significantly lower than highly flammable materials already present under the hood of an automobile, including motor oil, automotive transmission fluid, radiator antifreeze, brake fluid and compressor lubricant, as well as fuel.