Auto Care Association

EU rejects safety concerns over refrigerant R-1234yf

According to a recent report conducted by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC), R-1234yf, does not pose any serious safety risk when used as a refrigerant in a vehicle air conditioner, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) announced. The EU requires that refrigerants in all new type vehicles sold in Europe after Jan. 1, 2013, have a global-warming potential (GWP) below 150 and that all cars sold after 2017 meet the lower GWP requirement. R-1234yf is the refrigerant chosen by most automakers to meet the EU directive due to its low global-warming potential.

Daimler and the EU have been at odds since the EU passed its Mobile Air Conditioning Directive, AAIA noted. Daimler AG, German manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz cars, had previously claimed that R-1234yf had an excessive flammability risk. Although Daimler received approval from Germany to continue using R134a in its vehicles through 2016, the EU threatened Germany with legal proceedings for its acceptance of Daimler’s unwillingness to comply.

Despite the JRC report, which did not support the flammability claim, Daimler is still of the opinion that R-1234yf is unsafe and has said that it will continue using R134a through 2016 as long as they have Germany’s approval, AAIA noted. Daimler has also announced that it is working on an alternative carbon-based coolant, which will be ready for production beginning in 2016.