SAE International study group's confidence in safety of R1234yf grows

  • 12-Feb-2013 09:59 EST
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The Cadillac ATS is among the few models in the U.S. to date that use R1234yf. Shown is the ATS's A/C service valve fitting. (Photo by Paul Weissler)

Confidence in the safety of R1234yf as an automotive A/C refrigerant continues to grow in the ranks of an SAE International Cooperative Research Project team as it continues to review relevant research and testing to finalize risk assessment. The CRP1234-4 team met the week of Feb. 4, 2013, and expressed support for the findings of the original CRP1234-3 team that had determined there was no greater risk in R1234yf than other engine-compartment fluids. The new team was formed last year in response to Daimler's sudden decision to halt conversion to R1234yf. The team continues to carefully review use of R1234yf by using universally accepted engineering methods, including analysis of recent OEM testing from actual vehicle crash data, on-vehicle simulations, laboratory simulations, bench tests, and more than 100 engine-compartment refrigerant releases. Based on this testing, the CRP team has found that the refrigerant is highly unlikely to ignite and that ignition requires extremely idealized conditions. It also has determined that the refrigerant release testing completed by Daimler (and cited by the OEM as the basis for its decision to discontinue use of R1234yf) was unrealistic by creating the extremely idealized conditions for ignition while ignoring actual real-world collision scenarios. The CRP1234-4 team consists of Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault, and Toyota. Daimler had been part of the CRP1234-4 team, but recently dropped out, as did BMW and Audi.

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