R1234yf, the refrigerant jointly developed by Honeywell and Dupont that is being phased in as a replacement for R134a in Europe, is safe. So says a panel of scientists from the Joint Research Council, researching the refrigerant at the request of the European Commission. German automaker Daimler, though, disagrees with the finding, saying R1234yf can be toxic to humans when burned, according to Automotive News.

In case you haven't been following this real-life drama, the old refrigerant was banned in Europe due to environmental risks. Daimler refused to use the replacement refrigerant, prompting a short ban on the sales of Mercedes models in France, saying it was holding out for air conditioning systems that relied on carbon dioxide instead of R1234yf.

Neither side seems ready to concede defeat, Daimler saying in a statement that it believes the tests conducted on the new refrigerant were "too restrictive" and the EU Commission saying that there is "no evidence of a serious risk." The next step? Stay tuned, we suppose...


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      MachDelta
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's worth noting that R-134a has the exact same problem. It also burns and releases hydrofluoric acid, and autoignites at a relatively low (for exhaust gasses) temperature. Mind you, that in no way diminishes the concerns MB is raising. It simply puts them in perspective. Bring on (back) the CO2 refrigerants.
      Lachmund
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't even wanna know which lobby payed for that statement.
        IBx27
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lachmund
        The expired patent on R134a.
        Scott
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lachmund
        Yep. Follow the money. I'm sure Honeywell and DuPont has some big lobbyists on retainer.
      Daryl Cobranchi
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, sure. Any HFC can theoretically generate hydrofluoric (HF) acid when burned. But the temperatures required to do that would kill you long before the HF did. Full disclosure: I'm a research chemist with DuPont. That fact doesn't make my statement above any less true.
        DarylMc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Daryl Cobranchi
        Hello Daryl If Mercedes wants to use the CO2 refrigerant they really need to start putting it in their vehicles instead of complaining about R1234yf. The fact that they haven't already done this suggests to me that the performance, efficiency and cost of using CO2 is not all it is made out to be. From everything I have read CO2 sounds like an OK refrigerant. But I suspect R1234yf is better (at least until you burn it). Perhaps you can provide some information on the efficiency of R1234yf compared to CO2 since you are in the business.
          zinsharp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DarylMc
          Probably has something to do with the permeability of a hydrocarbon molecule versus a smaller CO2. Also you can't patent CO2.
          Daryl Cobranchi
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DarylMc
          CO2 systems are claimed to be as enrgy efficient or better than 134a. I don't have any info on the validity of that claim. What is a known fact, though, is that the switchover costs to CO2 would be significant. R1234yf is similar enough to R134a that the new refrigerant is essentially a drop in replacement.