The Truth About Cars » HFO-1234yf The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 19:24:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » HFO-1234yf Daimler Appeases EU Over Refrigerant. Zetsche Declares “S-Class For Our Time” Fri, 08 Mar 2013 11:00:11 +0000

Daimler and Volkswagen reached an agreement over an air-conditioning refrigerant that Daimler claimed was flammable and extremely hazardous to one’s health.

Reuters reports that Daimler, together with Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen, will develop a “completely new A/C system that employs non-flammable carbon dioxide as an alternative to the new, flammable HFO-1234yf refrigerant.”

The current R134a used in virtually every A/C system will be banned in 2017, and HFO-1234yf had been tabled as the replacement substance. HFO-1234yf  is said to be more climate friendly despite the numerous health risks claimed by Daimler, including risks of fire and toxic gases that occur during combustion. But its maker, Honeywell, claims that Daimler is just looking to save money by not using the more expensive HFO-1234yf.

The EU mandate to use HFO-1234yf is still on the books. Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber told Reuters during the Geneva auto show that Daimler would be prepared to pay the EU compensation for violating the directive, although he stopped short of calling it a “fine.”


Today, Volkswagen announced

“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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Explosive Refrigerant Threatens To Blow Up S-Class Launch Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:50:27 +0000

Daimler is dead set against using the new refrigerant HFO-1234yf, even if it is forced down it throat. The EU makes it a must in all news cars, but Daimler says it can fry and kill you. Now, Daimler can get burned big-time. Without HFO-1234yf, its new S-Class will be illegal, but “using HFO-1234yf is out of the question,” a Daimler spokesman told Automobilwoche [sub].

The new S-Class will be launched this summer in Europe. Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt has given type approval only with the EU-mandated HFO-1234yf. Without the explosive refrigerant, the car would be illegal anywhere in Europe.

In 2012, the refrigerant ignited during a crash test at Daimler. Daimler recalled all B-Class and A-Class cars sold with the refrigerant, and converted the air conditioner.

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Kill Or Be Killed: Automakers Can Be Forced To Use Deadly Refrigerant Wed, 19 Dec 2012 14:25:48 +0000

If you are an automaker, and you know that something can blow up and poison your customers, then you are in deep trouble if you put that stuff in your cars. In Germany, you are in in deep Scheiss if you don’t. Daimler may have to pay high fines if it continues using an old refrigerant in 2013, instead of the new HFO-1234yf, of which Daimler says it can fry and kill you. If Daimler continues to resist, it may lose the European type certification for the A and B Class. Which could kill the company.

This according to a legal opinion, commissioned by a department of the German parliament. The paper has been leaked to Germany’s Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung. Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt, the agency that administers the type certification in Germany, says that nobody is forcing Daimler to use HFO-1234yf, “as long as the European rules regarding global warming potential are being met.”

Catch-22: Only HFO-1234yf meets the new standards, in effect as of January 1, 2013.

Daimler is not alone. According to the FAZ, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai-Kia, Renault, Fisker, and Toyota have received type certifications for cars that use HFO-1234yf.

A group representing German firefighters demands that HFO-1234yf is outlawed. The group worries that burning refrigerant can emit substances more dangerous than chemical weapons, Auto Bild says.

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Environmentally Safe Refrigerant Can Blow Up And Poison You If You Aren’t Dead Already Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:28:59 +0000

HFO-1234yf is a refrigerant that is becoming an industry standard in Europe. Thanks to incentives offered by the Environmental Protection Agency, the refrigerant is likely to be rolled out widely in the United States as well. Honeywell and partner Dupont have a monopoly on the stuff. It also can kill you in more ways than one. Says  Reuters:

When engineers at Mercedes-Benz tasked with field-testing a revolutionary new refrigerant watched it ignite in a ball of fire before their eyes, it took a while for the significance of their discovery to sink in.

Simulating a leak in the air-conditioning line of a Mercedes B-Class tourer, they had released a fine mixture of refrigerant and A/C compressor oil, which sprayed across the car’s turbo-charged 1.6 litre engine.

The substance caught fire as soon as it hit the hot surface, releasing a toxic, corrosive gas as it burned. The car’s windshield turned milky white as lethal hydrogen fluoride began eating its way into the glass.

“We were frozen in shock, I am not going to deny it. We needed a day to comprehend what we had just seen,” said Stefan Geyer, a senior Daimler engineer who ran the tests.”

After Daimler’s findings, major carmakers quietly did a new round of safety tests. The tests showed combustion occurring in more than two-thirds of the cases after a simulated head-on collision, Reuters says.

Before that, Andreas Kornath, a chemistry professor at the University of Munich, warned that HFO-1234yf can release hydrogen fluoride HF.L during its combustion. Says Reuters:

“Readily absorbed by the skin, hydrogen fluoride begins attacking the body once it enters the bloodstream by spreading death on a cellular level, a process known as necrosis. High enough doses are known to cause the lungs to fill up with fluid, causing a drowning sensation, and to trigger cardiac arrest.”

European carmakers are opposed to using the new refrigerant. Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech advocates the use of CO2 as a refrigerant that is “guaranteed not to burn”.

Honeywell and Dupont concede that HFO1234yf is “mildly flammable”, but claim the reports of a killer substance are overblown. “The chance of being killed by an inflating airbag is 100 times higher,” said Chris Seeton, an engineer from Honeywell leading the development of HFO-1234yf. He also says Daimler doctored the test. “Their test was engineered for that outcome.”

GM announced it will use  HFO-1234yf in 2013 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models. Ford says it will use HFO-1234yf in its European models if required, but would like to stick with the current refrigerant, HFC-134a.

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