EU Directive 2006/40/EC or what’s known as the MAC Directive calls for the phase-out of current fluorinated greenhouses gases such as R134a.
Cars & Car Derived Vans receiving their type approval* from January 1st 2011 must use a refrigerant with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of less than 150.January 2017 for all other vehicles (vans, trucks, buses, coaches e.t.c)
The current refrigerant HFC R134a does not meet this requirement.
*Type approval is the confirmation that production samples of a design will meet specified performance standards. The specification of the product is recorded and only that specification is approved.www.vca.gov.uk
There are three possible refrigerants for the alternative automotive solution and to date; HFO-1234yf has proved to be globally the manufactures choice. This does not affect current production models which will continue to use R134a.
Which new vehicles will use HFO-1234yf?
The manufacturers of HFO-1234yf are, we understand, modifying an existing production facility in China to meet the Global demand. They have agreements with Vehicle OEMs that schedules them to start delivering sufficient volumes of refrigerant to support vehicle manufacturers operations by the fourth quarter of 2011.
The volumes available then will still be restricted so as the refrigerant manufacturer ramps up production volumes of refrigerant to meet demand, car manufacturers will have to manage the launch of their new models with the availability of HFO-1234yf.
Given the time delay from type approval to vehicles on the road and production of refrigerant, new models being launched to market from sometime in 1st quarter of 2012 onwards will probably be equipped with HFO-1234yf. More detailed information will follow regarding specific models as they become known.
HFO-1234yf has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of just 4 and compared to other refrigerants (R134a -1300) its lifespan if released to atmosphere is only 11 days. This drastically reduces the potential of damage to our environment.
HFO-1234yf is regarded as the most suitable refrigerant for low pressure systems and also requires minimal re-engineering.
The performance characteristics are very similar to HFC R134a.
There is currently no need to be alarmed about the limited availability of HFO-1234yf. HFO-1234yf is not yet commercially available. As of November 2010 there were no production plants globally that are set up to manufacture and produce HFO-1234yf in any significant volumes. Any refrigerant that has been produced to date has been for R&D purposes only.
It is highly unlikely that there will be any servicing or repair requirements involving HFO-1234yf during 2011. Volumes will begin to grow gradually from 2012 onwards.
It is essential to continue the service, maintain or replace existing HFC R134a refrigerant management stations (RMS). The number of vehicles on the road with R134a will continue to grow for some years.
Continue to train your technicians in the handling of HFC R134a and using existing equipment. Autocooling can provide training if required.
New leak detection equipment is likely to be required for HFO-1234yf.
It is mildly inflammable whereas HFC R134a is not flammable.
When stocks are available, the price will be initially higher than that of HFC R134a
Be very careful on making decisions to purchase HFO-1234yf machines. If you are a Franchise Dealer, it will be a Dealer Standard - only react to the recommendations of your specific Marque, they can advise you of production schedules and new model releases.
Be prepared, equipment manufacturers have advised to set aside around £5000.00 in your 2012 budget for the addition of a HFO-1234yf service unit.
Make sure you get the right information! HFO-1234yf is not yet commercially available so final machine specifications have not yet been confirmed!
The characteristics of HFC R134a and HFO-1234yf would suggest that AC system servicing processes are likely to be different.
Autocooling are working closely with industry professionals and manufacturers to fully understand the characteristics, equipment specification, and support requirements along with defining necessary technician training for the introduction of HFO-1234yf.
Further information will be released as soon as it becomes available.
Any questions please feel free to contact us.