29 March 2007 20:02 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--DuPont and Honeywell have entered a joint development agreement to accelerate the introduction of a new hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) automotive refrigerant, officials said on Thursday.
Faced with a 2011 HFC-134a phase-out deadline in the European Union (EU), the two HFC makers would work to make alternatives available to automakers by mid-to-late 2007, said Mark Baunchalk, global business manager of DuPont refrigerants.
“The focus is on accelerating the development and convergence on low GWP fluorine refrigerant solutions,” Baunchalk said.
“The mobile air conditioning industry wants to converge on global technology solutions.”
The companies would share technology as they completed testing and qualification, but the deal could extend to manufacturing and marketing the product.
“We’re still in discussions around commercialisation. Hopefully, we will have more as we go forward,” said David Diggs, global director of Honeywell’s refrigerants business.
The product’s physical properties would be close enough to HFC-134a that automakers would not need to dramatically redesign existing air conditioning systems, unlike competitive CO2 systems under development.
Diggs added that the new refrigerant appeared to have comparable, if not better, efficiency than HFC-134a.
The most important characteristic from a regulatory standpoint was the new refrigerant’s global warming potential (GWP), which would be less than 50, Baunchalk said.
HFC-134a, the current mainstay of automotive refrigeration, has a GWP of 1,300, and the directive from the EU will require less than 150 GWP by 2011.
Although regulatory pressures have emphasised automotive refrigerant development, the new technology has shown encouraging results and might be leveraged into other refrigerant applications, Baunchalk said.
The manufacture of HFC-134a is a major end-use for feedstock trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, but it was not clear whether the alternative automotive refrigerant would be produced from different feedstocks.
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