Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific body established by the United Nations, has confirmed that Honeywell’s new low-global-warming automobile refrigerant, HFO-1234yf, has a global warming potential (GWP) that is less than 1, below that of carbon dioxide.
The IPCC is the international body that assesses the science related to climate change. Their assessments are widely accepted by governments around the world and provide a basis for those governments to develop climate-related policies.
“The IPCC report confirms that HFO-1234yf has a lower global warming potential than carbon dioxide,” said Ken Gayer, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Fluorine Products. “Automakers around the world are choosing HFO-1234yf not only for its environmental attributes, but because it is easy to adopt, is safe, and it performs well in all climates.”
IPCC has accepted the findings of an independent, peer-reviewed paper, published last year in volume 51 of Reviews of Geophysics by several leading chemists and environmental scientists from Europe and the U.S. That study was the first to calculate the GWPs of all fluorocarbon-based refrigerants using all available atmospheric data, taking into account local atmospheric patterns.
The study found HFO-1234yf to have a GWP of less than 1. CO2 is considered the baseline with a GWP equal to 1. Earlier studies had calculated the GWP for HFO-1234yf at 4, which is still a 99.7 percent improvement over HFC-134a, the refrigerant most commonly used in the world’s automobiles that is subject to being phased out under the EU Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive. GWP is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. (See “Comparison of Greenhouse Impact” table below.)
HFO-1234yf is being implemented by automakers in part to meet the EU MAC Directive, a landmark piece of legislation that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of air-conditioning systems in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The directive requires that refrigerants in all new vehicle types sold in Europe after Jan. 1, 2013, and all cars sold in Europe after 2017, have a global-warming potential (GWP) below 150. HFO-1234yf, with a GWP below 1, not only meets this requirement but is more than 99 percent below the new, stricter regulation.
Automakers in the U.S. are also adopting HFO-1234yf to help comply with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and vehicle greenhouse gas standards, which aim to improve the average fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with cars and light trucks. Because HFO-1234yf has an extremely low environmental impact (a GWP of less than 1 compared with a GWP of 1,300 for the current refrigerant, HFC-134a), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows automakers to receive credits for using HFO-1234yf.
Nearly half a million cars are on the road today safely using HFO-1234yf, and by the end of 2014, the number of vehicles is expected to exceed 2 million. Third-party data shows that HFO-1234yf’s widespread adoption globally would have the greenhouse gas equivalent of permanently removing more than 30 million cars from the road worldwide, or about 3 percent of the total global fleet.
Honeywell recently announced significant investments in production capacity to meet anticipated demand for HFO-1234yf. Earlier this year, Honeywell announced that it has entered into a supply agreement with Asahi Glass Company Ltd. (AGC) to increase production for HFO-1234yf in mid-2015, and late last year, Honeywell announced a $300 million investment with its suppliers to build a new HFO-1234yf production plant at Honeywell’s existing Geismar, Louisiana, facility.
Comparison of Greenhouse Impact: HFO-1234yf vs. HFC-134a vs. CO2
|Refrigerant||Atmospheric Lifetime||Global Warming Potential||Fuel Efficiency (compared with HFC-134a)|
|HFO-1234yf||10.5 days||Less than 1||Same|
|CO2||Ranges from 5 to 200 years||1||Worse (adoption of CO2 as a refrigerant in Europe alone would result in annual consumption increase of 3 billion liters of fuel at a cost of more than 4 billion Euros to European car drivers)|
Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies is a global leader in developing and manufacturing advanced materials and process technologies. These materials and technologies are used by people every day in a wide range of industries and applications, from petroleum refining to environmentally friendlier refrigerants to bullet-resistant vests. Our advanced materials are critical in the manufacture of products ranging from nylon to computer chips to pharmaceutical packaging. Process technologies developed by our UOP business form the foundation for most of the world’s refiners, efficiently producing gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and petrochemicals. UOP is now pioneering technology to produce real fuels from renewable energy sources.
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
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