Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-0909
2019-04-02

Next generation refrigerant transition: lessons learned from automotive industry experiences with CFC-12, HFC-134a and HFO-1234yf 2019-01-0909

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol requires the global phasedown of HFC-134a in MACs. This paper explores how lessons learned in the transition from CFC-12 to HFC-134a can inform ongoing and future transition to next generation refrigerants with superior environmental performance. In 1987, when the Montreal Protocol was signed, air conditioning was installed on more than 90% of vehicles sold in North America and 50% of vehicles sold in Europe and by 2010 air conditioning was standard equipment on 4-wheel vehicles worldwide To protect the stratospheric ozone layer, automobile manufacturers completed the phaseout of CFC-12 around 1994 in developed countries and around 2006 in developing countries. HFC-134a was selected to replace CFC-12 because it had comparable cooling performance, low toxicity, non-flammability, no ozone depletion potential (ODP), and a GWP about eight times lower than CFC-12 (HFC-134a GWP =1300 vs. 10,200 for CFC-12). After the transition to HFC-134a, mobile air conditioning energy efficiency, cooling performance, and reliability continued to improve, spurred by collaborative efforts between industry, government, and non-governmental organizations. To protect the climate, the European Commission (EC) in 2006 passed the MAC F-Gas Directive requiring vehicles to use refrigerants with GWP below 150 and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) approved HFO-1234yf (GWP<1), CO2 (GWP=1) and HFC-152a (GWP=138) or use in MACs. To satisfy the EC MAC Directive and in response to US credits toward fuel efficiency, all but one global automaker selected HFO-1234yf and began transitioning away from HFC-134a in 2008. In 2016, world agreed to phase down HFCs globally via the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

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