General Motors Co. will introduce a new greenhouse gas-friendly air-conditioning refrigerant in 2013 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models in the U.S. that keeps vehicle interiors as cool as today while reducing heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere by more than 99 percent.
The biggest benefit of the new refrigerant, (HFO-1234yf) supplied by Honeywell, is that it breaks down faster in the atmosphere than the refrigerant currently used (R-134a), On average, R-134a refrigerant has an atmospheric life of more than 13 years, giving it a global warming potential (GWP) of over 1,400.
By comparison, the new refrigerant lingers in the atmosphere for just 11 days and has a GWP of only 4, a 99.7 percent improvement. GWP is a value used to compare different greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. The base measurement for GWP is relative to that of carbon dioxide.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awards regulatory credit for the improved environmental performance of the new refrigerant, which helps GM meet the overall requirements of the EPA’s new motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations. The new regulation requires an overall 40 percent improvement in overall U.S. fleet average vehicle fuel economy by 2016. The use of HFO-1234yf will help GM vehicles significantly exceed its targets under the new regulations.
“GM’s decision to adopt this new refrigerant is additional proof of our commitment to be on the forefront of green technologies that will keep our planet healthy for our children and grand-children,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of environment, energy and safety policy. “It’s not just about meeting regulatory requirements; it’s about environmental leadership and GM plans to lead in developing new technologies that will take the vehicle out of the environmental debate.”
Said Terrence Hahn, vice president and general manager for Honeywell Fluorine Products: “This is another example of how Honeywell is developing innovative new environmental and energy-efficient solutions to meet our customers’ current and future needs.”
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