Fluoride Action Network

Mercedes takes aim at ‘toxic’ R1234yf air conditioning coolant

Source: www.driving.co.uk | November 16th, 2015 | By Dominic Tobin
Location: European Union
Industry type: Greenhouse/Ozone Gases

One gram of hydrogen fluoride gas “can kill”

MERCEDES will fit fire prevention systems under the bonnet of its cars in response to a new European regulation that it claims could endanger drivers’ lives.

From January 1, 2017, all new cars sold in the EU must use eco-friendly coolant in their air-conditioning systems. But Mercedes says the only existing option is dangerous, as there is a risk of it igniting in a crash and releasing toxic hydrogen fluoride gas, which can burn or blind car occupants.

The company has announced that cars carrying the new coolant will have fire suppressant devices installed under the bonnet. These will blast argon gas towards hot engine components in the event of a crash. The argon displaces oxygen and smothers combustion.

Tests carried out by the German car company in 2012 simulated a leak of the new coolant — called R1234yf — into a hot engine bay after a crash. The result in each of more than 20 experiments was the release of toxic fumes of hydrogen fluoride gas after the fluid caught fire. One gram of hydrogen fluoride gas can kill, according to some experts.

A review ordered by the European Commission concluded that R1234yf was safe, a view backed by the manufacturers, DuPont and Honeywell.


See also:

April 7, 2016. Honeywell signs R1234yf deal in China. CoolingPost.com

November 16, 2014. Mercedes takes aim at ‘toxic’ R1234yf air conditioning coolant. Driving.co.uk

October 27, 2014. Chilling effect – EU Commission alleges possible collusion over in car air conditioning systems. Lexology.com.

October 22, 2014. Honeywell hits back over EU Commision’s 1234yf ‘Objection’. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning News.

October 21, 2014. Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Honeywell and DuPont regarding cooperation on new refrigerant used in car air conditioning systems. Press release of the European Commission.

October 21, 2014. DuPont Statement: European Commission Investigation. Press Release from Dupont.

August 28, 2013. DuPont president claims lifting of Mercedes ban changes nothing. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning News.

July 31, 2013. EU coolant row heats up. Fleet News.

July 10, 2013. Mercedes in war of words with EU over air-con chemicals. Cold War over refrigerants heats up. The Irish Times.

June 26, 2013. SAE: Controversial new vehicle refrigerant safe. Tire Business.

Dec 15, 2012. Mercedes faces off with Honeywell, DuPont over coolant safety. Automotive News. Reuters.

Sept 9, 2011. Honeywell defends “killer refrigerant” against German opposition. ACR News.

May 17, 2006. Greenhouse gas (HFC-134a) for emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles and amending. Directive 2006/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. Official Journal of the European Union.


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