Honeywell, DuPont Team Up on More Climate Friendly Auto Refrigerant

Honeywell, DuPont Team Up on More Climate Friendly Auto Refrigerant

Air conditioning display - CC by Flickr user jam343

DuPont and Honeywell are teaming up to manufacture an automobile air conditioning refrigerant that has a miniscule amount of the global warming potential (GWP) of current refrigerants.

The two companies are creating a joint venture that will design, construct and operate a large-scale manufacturing facility for the refrigerant, HFO-1234yf, which has a 99.7 percent lower GWP than the common refrigerant, hydrofluorocarbon HFC-134a.

GWP is a measure of how much one unit of a greenhouse gas contributes to global warming, relative to one unit of carbon dioxide, which has a GWP of 1. The higher the GWP, the more a gas contributes to global warming. Methane, for example, has a GWP of 25 over 100 years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The new refrigerant, in having such a low GWP, meets the European Union's regulatory rules for vehicles refrigerants. The E.U.'s Mobile Air Conditioning Directive requires that all new vehicle models, starting in 2011, need to use refrigerants with a GWP lower than 150.
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The common current refrigerant, HFC-134a, has a GWP of 1,430 over 100 years, while the new refrigerant created by DuPont and Honeywell has a GWP of 4.

The joint venture will begin supplying the refrigerant starting in the fourth quarter of 2011, before construction of the manufacturing facility, in order to meet the demands of the directive.

While DuPont and Honeywell will work together to produce the refrigerant (they introduced it in 2007), they will market and sell it separately. The companies said that they teamed up to produce it since a collaboration would provide enough of the refrigerant to meet demand faster than either company could do so alone.

Air conditioning display - CC by Flickr user jam343