Honeywell brought a new refrigerant to market four years ago that is designed for vehicle air conditioning systems. Known commercially as Solstice yf, or by its chemical name HFO-1234yf, this refrigerant was developed to offer carmakers an easy and cost effective way to cool cars while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from refrigerant escapes. Here are some quick facts:
- 1,300: The global-warming-potential (GWP) number associated with the world’s most common refrigerant, known as 134a, used to cool cars around the globe. This means 134a has 1,300 times more impact on global warming than carbon dioxide, which has a GWP of 1.
- 1 billion (and counting): The approximate number of cars on the road in the world—every day.
- 99.9: The percentage of reduced greenhouse gas impact that occurs when 134a is replaced by the new, low-GWP alternative refrigerant. In other words, replacing 134a with HFO-1234yf would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 99.9 percent.
- 30 million: The equivalent number of cars that, according to independent studies, would effectively be removed from the road due to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, if this new refrigerant were adopted globally. This equates to roughly 3 percent of the global fleet.
Through a recent amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the international community has come together to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which—when released into the atmosphere—trap warming greenhouse gases and take years, sometimes decades, to break down. For decades, 134a was one of the most common HFCs used in vehicle air conditioning systems around the world.
Honeywell invested significantly in R&D for more than a decade to enable its award-winning scientists to create new, near drop-in alternatives to replace HFCs like 134a—alternatives such as HFO-1234yf. Honeywell’s Solstice® product portfolio consists of solutions that have the lowest possible GWP, are generally as safe for intended use as the HFC products they replace, provide equal or better performance as compared to HFCs, and require little to no changes to existing equipment.
In order to provide a solution that would meet goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in mobile air conditioning worldwide, Honeywell engaged in a tremendous application effort focused on both performance and safety. Honeywell worked closely with the global auto industry, including OEMs and Tier 1 HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system providers, to ensure that this solution would be a safe, near drop-in replacement for 134a.
Proper vehicle design ensures materials such as refrigerants, gasoline, lubricating oils and brake and transmission fluids can be used safely. With relatively minor changes to engine compartment design, auto manufacturers were able to adopt this replacement solution quickly will little to no additional system hardware cost. HFO-1234yf has been extensively studied and confirmed safe for intended use, in collaboration with all of the global auto manufacturers, government entities and independent, respected, third parties including SAE International and the European Union Joint Research Centre.
Today, all major global automakers are in production with vehicles designed to use HFO-1234yf. With more than 1 billion cars currently on the road, global adoption of 1234yf can make a meaningful impact on greenhouse gas reduction goals.
HFO-1234yf is part of a family of stationary and mobile refrigerants, liquid and gaseous blowing agents, solvents and propellants based on Honeywell’s hydrofluoro-olefin technology, which helps customers lower their carbon footprint without sacrificing end-product performance.