Another German automaker has rejected the air conditioning refrigerant that's scheduled to be adopted by global automakers in 2017. Earlier this month, Volkswagen lined up with Daimler and BMW to support Daimler's findings from last year that the new refrigerant, called HFO-1234yf, can become flammable.

Volkswagen says it will be rolling out its own carbon-dioxide-based air conditioning systems. The European Union wants to have HFO-1234yf, which was designed by Honeywell and DuPont, replace the coolant currently in use, HFC-134a to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and its global warming potential. Daimler engineers discovered HFO-1234yf could spark a fire under the hood, with the potential to destroy the car and emit highly toxic gas while burning.

An automotive working group – the Cooperative Research Program – was formed last year to study the matter. Daimler conducted its own flammability tests and became concerned enough about vehicle safety to leave the working group, along with BMW. Volkswagen's Audi division also expressed concern and is now part of Volkswagen's decision to join ranks with its German allies and dismiss adoption of HFO-1234yf as the new refrigerant.

European Union Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani appears unwilling to accept the decision by Germany's "Big 3" automakers or a written request from German ministers asking for a temporary suspension of the new EU law. While Tajani said he would listen, he also said that he would begin infringement proceedings against any member state that did not comply with the new rules. "Since there was some information from Germany there was a problem, I am obliged to ask for information, but it's not giving them time. I am not weak," Tajani told Reuters.

There's no word yet what other agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency may do about it. Honeywell and Dupont would be holding a billion-dollar monopoly starting in 2017 if HFO-1234yf goes through. They're bound to support Industry Commissioner Tajani's decision.
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Volkswagen to use CO2 as future refrigerant for air conditioning systems
  • Consistent step towards protection of climate and environment
  • Group launches development of CO2 air conditioning systems
Wolfsburg, 08 March 2013 - Following up on the announcement of its ambitious environmental goals, the Volkswagen Group is taking another important step towards sustainability and environmental protection by choosing CO2 as the future refrigerant for its air conditioning systems.

Just a few days ago - at the Geneva International Motor Show - the Volkswagen Group affirmed its goal of becoming the world's most environmentally sustainable carmaker by 2018. To achieve this goal, the Group is investing over two-thirds of its total investment capital in the development of efficient technologies, drive systems and vehicles, as well as in environmentally sustainable production.

In another systematic step towards protecting the climate and the environment, the Volkswagen Group is now announcing its entry into CO2 technology, which will be rolled out progressively over its entire vehicle fleet.

Entry into CO2 technology will further contribute towards climate protection. CO2 (carbon dioxide) as a refrigerant – also known as R744 – is a naturally occurring gas with significantly lower greenhouse gas effects than conventional refrigerants, and it is ideal for use in specially designed automotive air conditioning systems. With a GWP (Global Warming Potential) value of 1, it is 99.3 per cent below the EU specified GWP limit of 150.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 75 Comments
      turbomonkey2k
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like DuPont did a good job of either paying off or threatening Tajani. Seriously, I'd like to believe that this is all about protecting the environment but wasn't R-134 as a replacement for R-12 supposed to fix all this? I remember all the conspiracy rumors about R-134 being forced on us to protect DuPont's profits and thinking it was kookism. When are we going to stand up for ourselves? Fool me once shame on you DuPont. If we let this happen again we have no one to blame but ourselves.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @turbomonkey2k
        R-134a is better than R-12 only because it is heavy enough that is less likely to rise to the upper atmosphere to destroy ozone. It's still a substantial ozone destroyer. It was chosen only as a stopgap that was easy to adapt R-12 current systems to and it was to be replaced as soon as good replacements were found. Now there are many many good replacements, so it's time to switch again. Your assumption that Tajani must be corrupted is hilarious. He has a job to put into place the rules of the EU vis-a-vis environmental protection and he's doing it. Why you think that has to be DuPont's doing is bizarre.
        dukeisduke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @turbomonkey2k
        No, the replacement of R-12 with R-134a was to fix the "ozone depletion" problem.
      Migara
      • 1 Year Ago
      "I'M NOT WEAK" Really??? I guess that statement, notwithstanding the enormous "interest" that the Honeywell/DuPont conglomerate has in this replacement getting EC approval and application (leading afterwards to worldwide usage) reinforces everyone's faith in this officer great leadership and selflessness.
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another reason why it's time for sane countries to leave the EU and its nanny statism.
      zakgee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too many auto repair shops here in the US are already hesitant to take in Volkswagens. A proprietary refrigerant will just add fuel to the flame.
      Val
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am not weak," Tajani told Reuters. Another retarded unelected EU bureaucrat with delusions of grandeur...
      tbird635
      • 1 Year Ago
      Propane makes a wonderful refrigerant., But it has a nasty tendency to explode when exposed to open flame.
      Carbon Fibre
      • 1 Year Ago
      Germany, that is all.
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the point is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, this is perfect because it sequesters the gas produced from other processes & doesn't require any new processes. Clearly, they are worried about leakage, but if it's captured carbon dioxide, leakage only gets you back to the status quo.
      Yo G Dawg
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm sure the gains are minimal with the new refrigerant, but these officials always have to be "Greener than thou." I'm sure an engine fire from one car could negate the gains of the system for hundreds of them. Wonder if he is on the take from DuPont?
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Yo G Dawg
        It's his job to enforce this. He isn't even authorized to change the regulations. It takes a minister-level person to change the regulations, he's just a commissioner.
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      make up a fake problem, then come up with the solution to that fake problem and you'll be a very rich man.
      Monthra 77
      • 1 Year Ago
      R-12 worked and Worked quite well. You could bring down a cars cabin to near freezing temperatures in a few minutes. R-134a was introduced and its didn't work so well. If you lived in a hot climate it barely brought the cabin down to a near tolerable level, cars had to be retrofitted and even then since the system was designed around the use of R-12 it's cooling performance was minimal. Now we are switching again by government mandate based on pseudoscience. What will happen this time? Might as well not have A/C, you'll get better performance cracking open a window. Bring back R-12. Or give us a choice when we buy a car and let the market sort it out.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Monthra 77
        Let the market sort it out doesn't work when the effects of global warming affect those other than the person who is making the decision and aren't apparent until well after buying the car. Think about it, it's like buying a printer. You buy a printer thinking you've made a great decision and then find out 8 months later that the ink cartridges cost as much as the printer did. You thought you made a good decision, but you didn't. The same goes for R-12, the downsides are hidden and that makes it difficult for customers to make a smart decision.
          Monthra 77
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          One, scientists are confused about the cause of global warming if there is such a thing. Get that sorted out before making a mandate that affects the lives of billions of people. Two, something may be a bad choice, but that is still a choice a free man can make. Once you take away the choice, a man is not free. Just because you don't like R-12, does not give you the right to take away my choice to purchase it.
          Rotation
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          Monthra 77: Yes, that's correct. You're not free because you are not free to make a bad choice. The reason you cannot buy R-12 is not because "I don't like it", it's because it destroys the ozone layer and we need the ozone layer up there protecting us. In order for this globe to support the population it supports, people do have to put up with some restrictions. You're not allowed to dump raw sewage in rivers either, and the people downriver from you are very appreciative of it.
          edward.stallings
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          Educate yourself! The fabricated reasons for getting rid of R-12 are now known to be BS, and had nothing to do with global warming based on CO2 - which is more BS.
        rmt_1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Monthra 77
        I miss R-12 too, because it worked so well, but like leaded gasoline, asbestos, and dioxins, its time has come and gone. Air conditioners using R-134a got to be just as good in time, after engineers learned more about how to use it in real world conditions.and hopefully the same will be true for whatever replaces R-134a.
          brandon
          • 1 Day Ago
          @rmt_1
          Oh, and just because there have been advancements in the technology that allows a maximization of cooling, it doesn't mean those same improvements couldn't have been used for r12 also. Therefore making r12 that much more efficient as well.
          brandon
          • 1 Day Ago
          @rmt_1
          Are you an engineer? Clearly not. As someone who actually understands thermodynamics, R134 is not anywhere near as efficient as R12. You can't change the chemical properties that make the saturation temp of R12 at 1 bar is -30 C, where r134 is -26 C. That equals a much greater cooling capacity in the chemical itself.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Monthra 77
        Most people will of course chose R-12. Just like they choose to buy water in a hundred tiny little bottles a year rather than one big one. Just like they won't object to things coming in styrofoam. Just like they'll drive a big SUV to work when they don't need it. R-12 is pretty hard on mother earth when it's released. Widespread use of it would pose a large collective problem. Don't you think there should be some kind of disincentive for using it?
        edward.stallings
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Monthra 77
        You get down voted here for pointing out that the government is made up of dishonest and incompetent bottom feeders. If they consider themselves green, you can safely bet that they are scientifically ignorant.
      Ivan Ivanovich Renko
      And above all, keep your eyes off the ENORMOUS windfall Honeywell and Dupont would gain. They're the jerb creators!!
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