DuPont announced that it continues to make strong progress in commercializing Opteon YF (HFO-1234yf) refrigerant and that a group of leading automakers confirms that the product is "safe and effective." Opteon YF is a scientific breakthrough that has a 99.7 percent lower global warming potential (GWP) than the refrigerant it was developed to replace, and has potential to reduce emissions equivalent to using billions fewer liters of fuel every year.
DuPont is making commercial shipments of Opteon YF from facilities in both Japan and China. The manufacturing scale-up of Opteon YF to date has been accomplished in an unprecedented time frame. The product is in use by automakers around the world.
A consortium of 10 European, North American and Asian automakers has announced that it has carefully evaluated extensive testing conducted by its members with HFO-1234yf, including additional testing to study potential ignition of the refrigerant in a crash. The group states that it has now updated its risk assessment and that HFO-1234yf refrigerant "is safe and effective to use in automotive applications" and "the risk of passenger exposure to a vehicle fire associated with this refrigerant is exceptionally remote."
The team of automakers also stated that the refrigerant release testing conducted by Daimler "did not include any actual vehicle collisions or the mitigating factors that occur in an actual collision" and the refrigerant release apparatus and nozzle used in the testing "does not represent actual crash damaged refrigerant lines, and was found to be artificial." This team stated that it has followed a risk assessment approach that has been recommended and used by numerous public and private organizations, including the European Union Joint Research Centre and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"DuPont has a high level of confidence that Opteon YF can be safely used in vehicle air conditioning and we know that it delivers a wide range of other benefits to automakers, consumers and society," said Thierry F. J. Vanlancker, president, DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts. "We continue to focus our attention on delivering this product to our automotive customers around the world for use in their latest new car model introductions."
DuPont forecasts indicate that the company has enough supply to meet current customer needs for compliance with the European Union's Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive. DuPont is prepared to invest in additional capacity to support increasing customer adoption around the world. In addition, the company has established a strong network for distribution of Opteon YF to aftermarket customers in Europe.
The MAC Directive has been in force since Jan. 1, 2013, and must be respected throughout the European Union, according to Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission, in his March 20, 2013, comments to the EU Parliament Environmental Committee.
"Automakers from around the world have placed orders for Opteon YF and are working to comply with the MAC Directive," said Vanlancker. "This regulation is an essential component in the European Union's sustainability programs and will have significant impact on reducing the environmental footprint of automobiles."
DuPont co-developed HFO-1234yf in response to Europe's MAC Directive, and the company markets and sells the refrigerant under the name Opteon YF. DuPont applies its scientific expertise to creating sustainable solutions that make a difference in the world and commercialization of Opteon YF is a great example of this commitment.
The China facility that supplies DuPont with Opteon YF has consistently met or exceeded its targets for supply reliability, production levels and product quality. Automakers that have transitioned to Opteon YF, or are preparing to make this transition, are scheduling visits to the facility in China to understand its capabilities and quality assurance processes.
DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals more than 20 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets.