• Mar 4th 2011 at 10:14AM
  • 11

What is HFO-1234yf? Well, it's the refrigerant that recently received final approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is supposedly 350-times less damaging to the atmosphere than the current HFC-134a. HFO-1234yf, which is claimed to be a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant, can now be used in air conditioning systems of all new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. The EPA says that HFO-1234yf has a global warming potential a whopping 99.7 percent less than HFC-134a and will help reduce the environmental impact of vehicle air conditioners.

HFO-1234yf was co-developed by DuPont and Honeywell and, prior to its approval here in the States, both Japan and Europe agreed to adopt this refrigerate to replace HFC-134a. You may recall (or not, that's okay) that HFC-134a was put into widespread use in the mid-1990s as a replacement for R12, the ozone-damaging refrigerant used prior to 1994. Well, it turns out that HFC-134a wasn't as environmentally friendly as it could be, and so now we're dealing with a new substance. We'll see how long it takes before this, too, is replaced.

[Source: EPA]
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EPA Approves New Coolant for Car Air Conditioning Systems / Better climate protection without harming the ozone layer

Release date: 02/28/2011

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued final approval for a new refrigerant for use in motor vehicle air conditioning systems that does not deplete the ozone layer, which helps protect the environment and people's health. The new chemical, HFO-1234yf, may now be used in air conditioning for new cars and light trucks. When used appropriately, this chemical can reduce the environmental impact of motor vehicle air conditioners and has a global warming potential that is 99.7 percent less than the current chemical (HFC–134a) used in most car air conditioners.

"This new chemical helps fight climate change and ozone depletion," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "It is homegrown innovative solutions like this that save lives and strengthen our economy."

EPA assists in the transition to green technologies by identifying alternatives that are better for people's health and the environment. EPA's recent standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty motor vehicles provide an opportunity for automakers to receive credit for adopting a chemical with less climate impact as a cost-effective way to meet the new standards. Using HFO-1234yf is one option available to automakers.

Prior to HFC-134a, car air conditioners generally used CFC-12, a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance. Depleting the stratospheric ozone layer leads to higher levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the Earth's surface. UV radiation has several harmful effects, including skin cancer, cataracts, immune system suppression, and premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. For these reasons, it is important to check the UV Index and remember sun safety: wear hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      what about the propane I use to fill home and car AC ?
      • 8 Months Ago
      The HVAC panel in the picture is from a car without A/C as you can tell from the blanking cover on the optional A/C button hole.

      Moving on.
      • 8 Months Ago
      please don't spread misinformation ls. r-134a (tetrafluoroethane) is chemically, not even vaguely related to r-12 (dichlorodifluoromethane), much less a slight modification of it.
      the attractive point of r-134a was that the pressures in refrigerant systems were similar to those in r-12 systems. therefore, older r-12 systems in cars, refrigerators, some room air conditioners, and even a few multi-ton industrial units could be retrofitted without too much hassle.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Overall good news.
      • 8 Months Ago
      anyone that uses propane for the A/C system is a nerd, you can blow yourself and everyone around you up. Hello use what you are suppose to use, do things the correct way. When we used to use the R-12 It was hard on me my breathing was bad with the R-134 it was a little better. The bottom line is all of these cemicals are bad for all of us.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Stan Peterson is completely wrong wrt his assertions on O3 depletion caused by CFC's. He cites no source and no one with any science background should be swayed by such clumsy and ignorant statements. To show the chemistry of this is straightforward: http://www.ausetute.com.au/cfcozone.html
      • 8 Months Ago
      Well, yes - that is how technology goes actually.
      You use it until you come up with something better.
      • 8 Months Ago
      R-134a was never supposed to last forever. It was a stopgap. All it did was modify Freon slightly so that it was heavier. This makes it less likely it'll rise through the atmosphere to get to the ozone layer. The actual ozone-depleting ability of R-134a is still very high.

      R-134a works, but it'd be nice to move on to something that actually doesn't destroy ozone at some point.
      • 8 Months Ago
      When Dupont saw an opportunity to make some l;arge profits, replacing everyone's AC with a new design suitable for high priced R134, they jumped on to support the Montreal Treaty.

      The World adopted it, even though the refrigerant was a lot less energy efficient than R-12 ACs. So we end up using a lot more energy to get the same cooling effect. Just what is wanted and needed by a true environmentalist.

      Now Science has revealed that the chemistry of Ozone depletion is all wrong and R-12 and R-134 are not all that bad after all. It turns out that the Montreal Treaty and the worldwide conversion from R-12 was a total waste of time and money, except for DuPont profits.

      But Dupont and Honeywell sees big profits in a reprise of the scam, in yet a new, even less energy efficient, AC, using 1234yf.

      To hell with efficiency, the phony enviro greens can be seduced to back a non-environmental new product. Phony enviro organizations that purportedly have some phony Scientists working for them like the Union of Concerned (non)-Scientists, UCS, and Center for (non)-Science in the Public (dis) Interest, CSPI ,have absolutely no Scientists and were easily seduced. Yet the other green fools look to them for scientific advice, in their ignorance. These pseudo-green organizations, may be the only ones who actually believe any nonsense that UCS or CSPI peddle.

      • 8 Months Ago
      There is no way that the 12 and 22 has ever interfeared any thing to the atmasfear.The refrigeant is heaver than air and no way it will rise to what the space ship can destroy going through the atmasfer.I see that the refigerant 410A is a lot better than the 22 freon.One thing bought the freon the one that takes the place the 134A weater it can be used wit the same syetem and what bought the oil does it need to be replaced.
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