Consumer Technology

Published on August 2nd, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer


Greener GM to Pioneer A/C With 99.7% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas

August 2nd, 2010 by  

A newly developed A/C refrigerant developed by Honeywell for the European market to have 99.7% lower global warming potential (GWP) will be used by GM to cool its entire fleet of 2013 models.

The new low emission coolant was developed by Honeywell initially to meet EU standards which have long been much more strict than US NHTSA standards governing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.


Now that the US is beginning to develop EU level clean vehicle standards, Honeywell’s HFO1234yf will have a new market in the US as well, and GM is the first on board to announce incorporating the environmentally friendlier refrigerant in its line-up here.

Names like Buick, GMC and Cadillac may seem hardly synonymous with green driving. But the new GM, (which, like Honeywell is a member of the breakaway Chamber of Commerce for clean energy) has a more fuel-efficient 2013 Chevy line-up ( including the Volt) which will also use HFO1234yf.

In 2007, as part of Kyoto rules, new low emissions standards for mobile air conditioning (MAC standards) were mandated in Europe. With a requirement that all new vehicles must use refrigerants with a global warming potential below 150 by 2011 – Honeywell and Dupont developed products to meet the standard.

The very first standards for carbon emissions ever in the US were just proposed by the Obama administration EPA last year. These clean fuel standards require that by model year 2016 the fleet-wide average must have emissions of no more than 250 grams per mile. Because of the high GWP of current refrigerants, the EPA will allow auto manufacturers to earn credits toward that fleet-wide average by improvements to air conditioning systems that reduce greenhouse gases.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were substituted for Ozone-depleting CFCs after the 1987 Montreal Protocol. At that time, following the warning of scientists who noticed that CFCs were creating a hole in the Ozone layer, the entire world quickly agreed to phase out atmosphere-endangering chlorofluorocarbons. However in 2009 the replacement HFCs were found to be a potent greenhouse gas and the search was on for a substitute.

GM has jumped ahead of the other automakers who serve the US market by implementing this A/C refrigerant which solves both problems. It neither slices open our atmosphere, leaving humans exposed to space, nor turns it into a gradually warming blanket that will suffocate our civilization.

Image: GM Volt

Source: Green Car Congress

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

  • Chevrolet is asking its 3,000 dealers to prepare for the late September launch of the Chevrolet Cruze compact by purchasing competitors’ vehicles for test-drive comparisons.Chevrolet is encouraging dealers to have a Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic on site so prospective 2011 Cruze buyers can immediately measure the car against its segment competitors, said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet small-car marketing director.

  • Mislead by blinding arguments

    HFO-1234yf is NOT environmentally friendly. Blindly repeating what GM and the chemical consortium producing the substance advertise demonstrates a lack of critical assessment.

    The article mentions that HFCs proved to be potent greenhouse gases. In this respect, it is good to know that HFO-1234yf is nothing but a misleading name for a next-generation HFC!

    HFCs came to replace HCFCs. HFO is coming now to replace HFCs. And look who is producing them: DuPont and Honeywell. And look at the timing: just when the patents for HFCs are expiring. Coincidence? Probably not.

    True, HFO has a low global warming potential, but grave concerns persist regarding environmental and passenger safety. HFO is flammable and toxic. Yes, it only remains in the atmosphere 11 days but washed out from rain it transforms into acid TFA that works as herbicide. Burning or in contact with hot surfaces it forms highly toxic TF.

    So, environmentally friendly? Certainly not!

    Please look behind the PR gag and consider that this is about money and profit and not about the environment.

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