GERMAN car manufacturers are reported to have given their backing to the new refrigerant HFO1234yf thus paving the way for the worldwide acceptance of this gas as a replacement for R134a in car air conditioning systems.
The decision, which has come in for stern crtiticism from German environmental groups, is said to have been made last weekend and, if confirmed, represents a marked u-turn on their previous support for CO2. While other car manufacturing countries had given tacit support for the new HFO, German car manufacturers had maintained their preference for CO2s as the preferred replacement for current gas R134a when that refrigerant is banned in new models of cars in Europe from January 2011.
Cracks began to appear last May, however, when Matthias Wissmann, president of the German car manufacturers association VDA, expressed his association's desire for a 'global standard'.
'In the opinion of the VDA,' he said, 'it is very unlikely that investigation of natural and chemical refrigerants can be done in parallel, and impossible for the Germans or Europeans to develop a solution of their own, in view of the state of the global market.'
He called for a worldwide standard and maintained that
separate individual solutions were not an option,'
HFO1234yf has a gwp of just 4 but concerns have been raised by environmentalists over its possible flammability. German environmental group DUH has called for Mr Wissmann to resign.
HFO1234yf and other HFOs are currently being investigated as potential low gwp replacements for HFCs in some stationary acr applications.