KBA says new Honeywell coolant poses no material risk

Article by Anita Panait, on August 13, 2013

Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has determined that the new air conditioning coolant produced by Honeywell and DuPont - HFO-1234yf – poses no material risk to vehicle occupants even if it is riskier than a an older alternative being phased out to comply with environmental rules

KBA conducted safety tests on the new coolant following claims from German carmaker Daimler that HFO-1234yf poses a greater fire risk than initially believed.

KBA’s report on the new refrigerant also came after the French government refused to register several of Daimler's new-model Mercedes-Benz units that use the older refrigerant, saying that the older coolant failed to meet new European environmental standards. KBA recommended further assessment of the HFO-1234yf to limit risks as much as possible.

KBA conducted safety tests using three different levels of severity, concluding that while the new refrigerant was more hazardous than the old, it did not pose a serious danger. KBA’s test could provide that the definition for the term "acceptable risk," something that only some carmakers dare to comment or address in public.

KBA’s test could also dispel fears that the new coolant really comprised a serious safety hazard, something that the auto industry would not want to spread outside Germany, the home base of Daimler AG.  Such fears could force the auto industry to embark once again on a costly search for a new coolant that complies with EU directive on environment potency.

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