Honeywell’s patented car-coolant chemical for air conditioning systems is the only chemical that currently meets new European Union standards for greenhouse gas emissions; now, Honeywell is being targeted by an antitrust complaint that says the company is preventing fair competition and seeks a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory license” to the patents for the chemical, known commercially as Solstice yf. Arkema, the company that filed the complaint with the EU antitrust authority, says Honeywell’s practices are detrimental both to automakers and the environment, “as the entire car industry is moving to worldwide deployment of 1234yf,” according to Industry Week.
Honeywell has replied that it is “convinced that it acts in full compliance with EU competition rules.” The company points out that the chemical helps automakers around the world comply with EU’s global warming potential requirements. Honeywell also says air conditioning systems using the refrigerant are “generally more energy efficient than competing technologies.” The EU regulations requiring companies to replace ozone-depleting chemicals with the more sustainable alternative in new vehicles has been enforced since the beginning of this year.
Earlier this month, Honeywell announced that it has started commercial operations at its new manufacturing plant in Geismar, LA, to meet the growing global demand for the refrigerant. With this start-up, the plant has become the world’s largest site for producing Solstice yf. The company claims that the new refrigerant has a global warming potential of less than 1, compared to the refrigerant it is replacing, R-134a, which has a global warming potential of 1300. Solstice fy is capable of “addressing both fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions,” says Ken Gayer, VP and general manager of Honeywell Fluorine Products.