DuPont and Honeywell today announced a global joint development agreement to accelerate the development and commercialization of next generation, low global warming refrigerants for the automotive air conditioning industry.
The new refrigerants would enable automakers to meet new regulations in Europe that require the use of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in mobile air conditioning (AC) applications.
Today’s automotive air conditioners use hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-134a.
The new regulation is scheduled to take effect in 2011 for new model automobiles, with the transition complete by 2017.
Under the agreement, DuPont and Honeywell will jointly identify, develop, test and qualify new low GWP refrigerants that are cost-effective alternatives to other technologies being considered by the auto industry.
Automakers are currently evaluating mobile AC systems that use such technologies.
Ideally, automakers are seeking a commercially viable fluorinated gas solution that is compatible with conventional HFC-134a mobile air conditioning system technology and offers a more cost-effective industry transition versus CO2 technology.
“Honeywell has a proven track record of developing refrigerant technologies to meet industry and customer requirements,” said Terrence Hahn, vice president and general manager for Honeywell’s Fluorine Products business.
“We look forward to providing a near drop-in replacement that reduces the need for costly system redesign for the automotive industry.
“For the consumer, we will provide an environmentally friendlier, low-GWP solution without sacrificing comfort or reliability,” he said.
“DuPont science and innovation helped ease the transition from chlorofluorocarbons to alternative products for both industry and society.
“Now we are quickly responding to the global automotive industry’s request for new refrigerants with lower global warming potential that offer a strong balance of benefits for safety, performance and cost-effectiveness,” said Cynthia C. Green, vice president and general manager — DuPont Fluoroproducts.
DuPont and Honeywell plan to share resources, investment and technology as part of the agreement.
The companies will work closely with the automotive industry to qualify a low GWP alternative by mid-2007.
According to industry estimates, there are more than 400 million cars with air conditioning systems globally, with each system using between one to two pounds of refrigerant.
Air conditioning systems utilizing fluorine-based refrigerants, such as those Honeywell and DuPont are seeking to develop, are more energy efficient than CO2-based air conditioning systems, particularly at high ambient temperature conditions.
Based on a test conducted by DuPont comparing mobile AC systems utilizing DuPont’s low GWP replacement refrigerant and CO2, widespread utilization of a fluorine-based refrigerant could lead to worldwide emissions reduction equivalent to 230 million gallons of fuel per year by 2017.
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