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News - HFO-1234yf The Facts

Last updated 15/12/2010 03:00 PM Article Ref: 147

HFO-1234yf The Facts

Over the last few months there has been some confusion regarding the legislative changes and introduction of new refrigerants for MAC (Mobile Air-Conditioning) systems.

From the first of Jan 2011 any brand new vehicle, not type approved (the process that confirms that production samples of a design will meet specified performance standards) will have to use an alternative refrigerant with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of less than 150.

There are three refrigerants identified for alternative automotive use and to date, HFO-1234yf has proved to be the Manufactures choice.

This does not affect current production models which will continue to use R134a.

What new vehicles will use HFO-1234yf?
The new legislation only applies to new vehicle models homologated after the 1st of January 2011.

The manufacturers of HFO-1234yf are, we understand, modifying an existing production facility in China to meet the Global demands for HFO-1234yf. They have agreements with Vehicle OEM’s that schedules them to start delivering sufficient volumes of refrigerant to support vehicle manufacturers operations by the 4th quarter of 2011.

The volumes available then will still be restricted so as the refrigerant manufacturer ramps up production volumes of refrigerant to meet demand, VM’s will have to stand in line and manage the launch of their new models with the availability of HFO-1234yf.

New vehicles containing HFO-1234yf are unlikely to hit UK Dealerships let alone our roads until at least the 1st quarter of 2012.

What are the characteristics of HFO-1234yf?
European F Gas regulations state that any replacement automotive refrigerant should have a GWP not exceeding 150.

HFO-1234yf has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of just 4.

Compared to other refrigerants its atmospheric lifespan if released to atmosphere is only 11 days. This drastically reduces the potential of damage to our environment.

The performance characteristics of HFO-1234yf are very similar to R134a, in efficiency tests, the results led to comparable performance levels, meaning a vehicles occupants will still receive the same high level of expected comfort.

Why is HFO-1234yf favoured?
The manufacturers have favoured HFO-1234yf because current automotive designs use low-pressure air conditioning systems. HFO-1234yf is compatible with these low-pressure systems and can be used as a replacement for R134a with minimal re-engineering of automotive systems.

Where can I purchase HFO-1234yf from?
HFO-1234yf is not yet commercially available. As of November 2010 there were no production plants globally that are set up to manufacture and produce HFO-1234yf in any significant volumes. Any HFO-1234yf that has been produced to date has been for R&D purposes only.

Once HFO-1234yf is available for sale, you can be assured that Autoclimate, as the UK’s largest independent supplier of automotive refrigerant, will be able to offer supplies at a competitive rate.

Should I purchase an HFO-1234yf machine?
Be very careful on making decisions to purchase HFO-1234yf machines
If you are a Franchise Dealer, it will be a Dealer Standard - only react to the advice of your specific Marque , they can advise you of production schedules and new model releases.

In many cases, Manufacturers have already warned their dealer networks to set aside around £5,000 in their 2011/12 budgets for the addition of a Dealer Standard service unit.

If you are an independent garage then make sure you get the right advice! Remember; HFO-1234yf is not yet commercially available so final machine specifications have not yet been confirmed!

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