The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that Honeywell’s low-global-warming automobile refrigerant, HFO-1234yf, has a global warming potential (GWP) that is less than one, below that of carbon dioxide.
GWP is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere (see table).
IPCC has accepted the findings of an independent, peer-reviewed paper, published last year in volume 51 of Reviews of Geophysics by chemists and environmental scientists from Europe and the US. 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 one. CO2 is considered the baseline with a GWP equal to one. Earlier studies had calculated the GWP for HFO-1234yf at four, which is still a 99.7 percent improvement over HFC-134a, the refrigerant most commonly used in the world’s automobiles that is being phased out under the EU Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive.
Automakers in the US 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.
Last month, Honeywell entered into a supply agreement with Asahi Glass Company 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, La., facility.