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News - HFO 1234yf latest news

Last updated 18/07/2012 03:53 PM Article Ref: 1933

HFO 1234yf latest news

On the 18th April 2012 the European Commission declared that, due to the lack of HFO 1234yf availability from suppliers, car manufacturers are able to use R134a refrigerant to fill new type-approved production vehicles where technically possibly until and including the 31st December 2012. New type approved vehicles still have to be compatible with Directive 2006/40/EC i.e. able to use a refrigerant that has a global warming potential of less than 150.

The following questions and answers will hopefully help explain a bit more about the current situation.

 What happens if the deadline of 31 December 2012 for HFO 1234yf availability cannot be met?

 The European Commission has stated that R134a can only be used in these new type approved vehicles until the 31st December 2012. From the 1st January 2013 car manufacturers will have to use HFO 1234yf in new type approved vehicles.

The suppliers of HFO 1234yf (Honeywell and DuPont) have stated they expect production to be up and running in quarter 4 2012, as such the European Commission will begin to start infringement procedures against those manufacturers who don’t follow the directive.

If a vehicle gets type-approval now and enters production this year, then it could have R134a installed, but for vehicles produced after the 31.12.12012 then HFO 1234yf should be installed. How will this be ensured?

All approval authorities in the member states have been informed of the decision of the European Commission. The monitoring of the implementation of the measures referred above is ensured by those authorities in the member states responsible fortype-approval, certification of production and market surveillance.

Will vehicles that were type-approved after the 1st of January 2011 that should have been using HFO 1234yf, but have been filled with R134a, (e.g. Mercedes Benz B Class) be converted back to HFO 1234yf as soon as the refrigerant is available either at the next service interval, or other earliest opportunity?

The decision by the commission states that “new types of vehicles can only be type-approved if they are fitted with MAC systems that are compatible with Directive 200/40/EC. However, as long as the refrigerant HFO 1234yf is not available, and with a definitive limitation on 31 December 2012, manufacturers may continue to use the old refrigerant (R134a) to fill new type-approved production vehicles, when this is technically possible.”

There are no retrofitting obligations

What should accident repair centres do with vehicles that have been involved in an accident where the air conditioning system has been damaged (typical front-end accident) that have been filled with HFO 1234yf if no refrigerant is available to the independent aftermarket (as is currently the case)? Should these accident repair centres refill the vehicle air-conditioning systems with R134a?

The accident repair centre should make contact with the vehicle manufacturer / local dealership for getting access to the necessary HFO 1234yf refill quantity. To our knowledge a MAC designed for the use of HFO 1234yf cannot be simply refilled with R134a, without risking damage to the MAC system.

How will workshops be notified which refrigerant has been installed in a particular vehicle manufacturer’s model type if R134a has been replaced with HFO 1234yf when it becomes available?

The information has to be contained in the repair and maintenance information package of the vehicle.

What should a vehicle owner do if they have such a vehicle?

As there are no retrofitting obligations, vehicle owners should continue as they normally would and there is no special action they need to take. Whatever MAC system the vehicle has that they purchase will be perfectly fine and can be serviced throughout its lifetime.

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