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13/07/2016
Production of the HFO-1234yf gas to soar: Honeywell grants license to Indian chemical industry

Massimo Brunamonti

 

Honeywell has granted the license to produce the Solstice YF, refrigerant gas for cars better known as HFO-1234yf, to Navin Fluorine International Limited (NFIL) India, which will thus produce the new refrigerant currently used on all new passenger cars. The HFO-1234yf, as you recall, is a new generation hydro-fluorocarbon that will gradually replace the old R-134a previously used in motor vehicles’ air conditioning systems. The HFO-1234yf, which can boast an environmental impact 150 times lower than the previous gas, is now increasingly been used in air-conditioning systems for commercial refrigeration.

Production is expected to begin by the end of 2016, and according to this agreement, Honeywell is well in line with its commitment to meet the growing market demand, through a robust global supply infrastructure. Honeywell and its main partners are investing around 300 million dollars to increase the overall production capacity of the HFO-1234yf by sharing its new production systems, already used in Geismar, Louisiana, the original refrigerant production site.

The news has relevance in the automotive world to the extent that this initiative will cause, as we hope and expect, a cost reduction of the Solstice YF refrigerant. This gas in fact, launched on the market more than five years ago, is still very expensive when compared to the previous gas. As a rather unfortunate coincidence, the Fukushima disaster has also helped to intensify the problem following the damage of one of the production sites, causing a shortage with a consequent price increases. Environmental protection does not allow compromise, though, but it is difficult to pursue it if the costs are too high, as in the case of the HFO-1234yf.

"More than 8 million cars currently running on our roads,regularly use Solstice YF," said Ken Gayer, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Fluorine Products, "and this number is expected to grow to more than 18 million cars by the end of 2016 ".

According to Honeywell, the demand for the HFO-1234yf is rapidly increasing due to the proliferation of environmental laws and policies aimed at reducing the impact of refrigerants on global warming. In the US, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of Solstice YF as a substitute for the old R-134a even on mobile air conditioning systems from 2021. The MAC Directive, in force in the European Union for the past few years, makes the use of low environmental impact refrigerant gas mandatory, which leaves little or no alternative to the HFO-1234yf gas.

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