Developing the refrigerants of tomorrow

Honeywell is developing fourth-generation, low-GWP refrigerants

Yves Desuter, Senior Account & Marketing Manager for Refrigerants in Europe, takes us through the stages involved in researching and developing the refrigerants of the future:

"Following European Union legislation aimed at limiting the use of greenhouse gases (the MAC Directive and the F-Gas Regulation), Honeywell has developed various fourth-generation gases known as HydroFluoroOlefi ns (HFOs).
Our earliest projects focused on finding a replacement for the R-134a used in the automotive industry.
The replacement we found was HFO-1234yf. R-134a is also used as a blowing agent for insulation products and in some aerosols. In these cases it will be replaced by HFO-1234ze.
These two gases have a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of 4 and 6 respectively. In accordance with the aims of the applicable legislation, they also help to increase energy effi ciency in the systems in which they are used.

  • HFO-1234yf and HFO-1234ze are direct replacements for R-134a in these applications.
  • HFO-1234yf has been tested for a number of years in the automotive industry. It allows air conditioning units to operate in all climatic conditions and has been recognized as the safest and most suitable solution by the SAE - the Society of Automotive Engineers.
  • HFO-1234ze, which has been marketed by Honeywell since 2007, has similar chemical properties to R-134a, and allows single-component foams to retain their fl exibility and solidity.

The formulations of HFO-1234yf and HFO-1234ze are such that it is possible to consider the replacement of R-134a in other applications such as industrial and commercial refrigeration. Honeywell is currently working on this development and on extending its HFO range to meet the needs of refrigeration and air conditioning professionals. As our key partner in a number of European markets, Climalife is regularly kept informed of the progress of our research into fourth-generation refrigerants and will, going forward, be our main point of contact as we help various European industries to fi nd environmentally friendly, energyefficient and high-performance solutions."


Date : September 2009

Author : Yves Desuter