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DuPont responds to Daimler/Mercedes Benz R1234yf announcement

Following the recent press release from Daimler/Mercedes Benz regarding their concerns with the use of refrigerant HFO1234yf, VASA has now received a response from DuPont which follows.

DuPont (September 28, 2012)

Based on extensive data, and on independent risk assessments, HFO-1234yf can be used safely as an automotive refrigerant.

DuPont was surprised to read the Sept. 25, 2012 press release issued by Daimler. According to the release, the test they conducted did not involve other industry members or undergo peer review. DuPont has requested the details of Daimler’s data and testing methodology, and we will review them as soon as possible, to understand if they do indeed represent new findings.

The statements in Daimler’s release are not consistent with the findings of extensive industry evaluations, including a paper that was co-authored by Daimler and presented by the German automakers association (VDA) on Sept. 17, 2012 in Frankfurt, which stated, “R1234yf equipped vehicles are as safe as those using R134a – for occupants, mechanics, first emergency responders and fire fighters.”

DuPont co-developed HFO-1234yf in response to Europe’s Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive, which requires an automotive refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) under 150. HFO-1234yf refrigerant has a GWP of 4, which is 99.7% lower than the refrigerant used in most cars today.

In addition, HFO-1234yf enables energy efficiency, and has an optimal balance of safety, performance, sustainability and cost.

HFO-1234yf has performed well in extensive safety and efficacy testing conducted by leading automotive manufacturers and by independent testing groups such as SAE International. The SAE conducted an international Cooperative Research Program in which leading automakers participated.

According to SAE, “thorough international testing, including independent, third-party, documented tests…using real-world conditions have demonstrated that HFO1234yf is safe to use in mobile air conditioning.” The SAE also concluded that “HFO1234yf is safe to use in automobiles designed for use with HFO1234yf as verified through extensive third-party testing.”

Click here to read SAE’s HFO1234 summary.

Flammability: Risk assessments have shown that there is no significant additional flammability risk for HFO-1234yf versus R-134a, which it was developed to replace. Multiple industry risk assessments have been conducted, involving extensive testing in real life conditions, simulating many sorts of leaks, using various ignition sources, and simulating front-end crash conditions. In these tests, the refrigerant was extremely difficult to ignite even with very high temperature sources and flames did not spread in any of the tests.

HF Formation: Industry groups have also thoroughly evaluated the risk of hydrogen fluoride (HF) formation due to exposure of HFO-1234yf to extreme heat or a flame. They concluded that use of HFO-1234yf in automotive air conditioning systems poses no increased risk compared to the current refrigerant HFC-134a, which has been used for nearly 20 years. During more than six decades’ use of fluorine-based automotive refrigerants, there is no documented incident related to HF exposure from refrigerant decomposition in a vehicle fire.

To view the Daimler/Mercedes Benz release click here.

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