Chemours

Supreme Court To Rule on HFC Refrigerants

Well ladies and gentlemen the fight to phase down HFC refrigerants in the United States continued today with the announcement that Chemours, Honeywell,  and the National Resource Defense Council are petitioning the United States’ Supreme Court to review the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s SNAP Rule 20 regulations. (That was a mouthful to say.) All of this can be traced back to two important dates. The first is the summer of 2015 when the EPA released a new rule for their Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP).

This rule, known as Rule 20, was intended to begin the phase down and eventual phase out of HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. The original rule can be found by clicking here. The EPA referenced their authority for this new regulation under Chapter VI, 6, of the Clean Air Act. This section is what was used to phase out CFC and HCFC refrigerants due to the harm they were causing to the Ozone layer.

When this rule was introduced most everyone in the industry had already been expecting it. HFCs were on the way out and were already in the process of being phased out across the European Union and other countries. As the months, and eventual years, went by the new regulation was accepted as law and companies, businesses, and government began to prepare for it’s arrival. Refrigerant manufacturers Honeywell and Chemours began to invest into their new HFO refrigerant line known as Solstice and Opteon. They opened new plants abroad and here in the United States. They invested in multiple new refrigerants and innovations. HFOs were the refrigerant of the future and Honeywell and Chemours held all the keys.

The Ruling

The second important date was in the summer of 2017. To be more precise, in August something unexpected happened. A Federal Court of Appeals ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s SNAP Rule 20 regulation. This lawsuit filing and ruling were brought forward by Mexichem and Arkema. These two companies are two very large refrigerant manufacturers that have had a rivalry over the past couple years with Honeywell and Chemours. While Honeywell/Chemours have been working closer and closer over the years formulating their new HFO line the other companies like Mexichem and Arkema have been left out in the cold. I see this lawsuit from Mexichem and Arkema as a stalling tactic. By having the EPA’s rule overturned these two companies now have more time to develop alternative refrigerants to compete with the HFO and Hydrocarbons that will be taking place of HFCs.

The court’s ruling shook the industry throughout the country, and a good part of the western world. Everyone had assumed that the United States would be phasing down HFC refrigerants like the rest of the world. In fact, a year after the EPA announced their Rule 20 the US also announced that it was to sign the Kigali Amendment in November of 2016. The Kigali Amendment was an addendum to the now famous Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol was the treaty signed in the 1980’s that began the phase out of CFC and HCFC refrigerants. This treaty was also the basis of the law and regulation that the EPA used to phase out these refrigerants here in the United States. Here’s the problem though folks, the Montreal Protocol was designed to combat Ozone harming pollutants such as CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The same can be said about the Clean Air Act.

The EPA tried using Chapter VI, 6, of the Clean Air Act to phase-out HFC refrigerants. The name of this chapter is called: “Stratospheric Ozone Protection” See a problem here? I do. HFC refrigerants do NOT harm the Ozone layer. While, yes, they do harm the environment through Global Warming, they cannot harm the Ozone as they do not contain Chlorine. Yes, one could argue that it is a matter of technicality, but the argument is still there and is valid. If we go inside this chapter of the Clean Air Act using the government’s official website we can see that all of the substances that were to be banned. There is no mention of HFC refrigerants anywhere. Funny, how they tried to just throw those in there. The Appeals Court saw this and agreed with Mexichem and Arkema.

Aftermath

The immediate aftermath of the ruling was silence, at least for a while. No one was really expecting a ruling against the EPA. After the dust settled though Honeywell and Chemours partnered up again and filed an appeal on the Appeals Court’s ruling. These two companies had two main arguments for while the court’s ruling should be overturned:

  1. First, they argued that the SNAP Rule 20 was well-founded and that the federal court’s ruling exceeded it’s jurisdiction as well as ignoring the original intent of the SNAP Program. (To replace Ozone depleting refrigerants with the safest alternatives.) This argument bothers me. They know they didn’t go through Congress and they know that they didn’t do it the correct way. But none of that matters. No. Their intent was good.
  2. The second argument and just as ludicrous in my book is that these two companies invested two much money to have these regulations end. Chemours noted that they had invested more then one billion dollars to research, develop, and commercializing their new HFO refrigerants. All of this development was done under the guise of HFC refrigerants being phased out. What they don’t tell you here is that Chemours and Honeywell, have been investing money into HFOs long before the EPA made it’s decision to phase out HFC refrigerants in 2015. This argument seems like a moot point. In business their a thing called risk as all of you know.

The appeal was filed in September of 2017. While there was some back and forth there wasn’t an official ruling until early 2018. On January 26th, 2018 the United States Court of Appeals out of District of Columbia ruled against the appeal on phasing down HFC refrigerants. I wrote an article about this that can be found by clicking here. Again, this appeal ruling caught everyone off guard. Everyone assumed that the court would rule in favor of Chemours and Honeywell.

It was announced today that Honeywell and Chemours will now be taking their appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. This is their last hope and frankly I do not know what to expect here. The court has been changing since Trump has been elected. While he has only replaced one seat we may see another seat change by the time this HFC case gets to the court. That being said, I honestly don’t know what way the court would go on this. I would imagine that it would be a tight ruling 5-4 going in either direction.

Conclusion

This has definitely been a turbulent year when it comes to HFCs in the United States. At this point no one can say for sure what’s going to happen. The Supreme Court could rule in favor of the EPA and we could be right back where we were a year ago. But, if that doesn’t happen then we have many other options available such as the Kigali Amendment, new laws in Congress, or even States’ Rights such as California implementing their own HFC policy. Even if all of these fail or do not gain traction I can assure you that HFCs will be going away, it just may take a little bit longer. Manufacturers out there know that HFCs are on the way out and they have already started making plans with the newer alternative refrigerants. This may end up just being a game of attrition.

Thanks for  reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

I saw this news story come across my e-mail this morning and needless to say, I was surprised. It’s not everyday you see that Chemours and Arkema partnering up with one another. In fact, in the recent past they have been fairly bitter rivals going back and forth in HFC court battles. Arkema was one of the plaintiffs in the law-suit against the Environmental Protection Agency and their proposed HFC phase outs. (Chemours was on the losing side.) This back and forth battle all had to do with the new HFO refrigerant line. Arkema was trying to delay the transition away from HFCs while Chemours was pushing ahead as fast as possible.

Over the recent years Chemours and Honeywell have been very protective of their HFO brands Opteon and Solstice. In fact, they have patents on most of their newer HFO refrigerants which prevent the other larger manufacturers like MexiChem and Arkema from manufacturing their own versions. It makes perfect sense and it’s a good business decision, but it does pose a problem of too little competition in the market. More or less, Chemours and Honeywell have a monopoly on the developing HFO refrigerant market. They control the price and the marketplace.

There was a step forward announced yesterday between Chemours and Arkema on Chemour’s Opteon XP40 refrigerant. (R-449A) The two companies both sent out a press release stating that Arkema is now a certified distributor within the European Union. (For those who don’t know Arkema is a French based company.) This step allows Chemours to enter the European Union market with their newer XP40 refrigerant at a pivotal time. Across the EU companies are looking for alternative lower GWP refrigerants to be compliant with the F-Gas Regulations and that’s not even mentioning the sky-high prices that R-404A hit in the European Union last year.

Opteon XP40 was seen as a perfect fit as it is a near drop-in replacement product for R-404A and R-507A. This also gives Arkema a viable alternative option to all of their customers. They will be able to market this Chemours product under their own Forane brand name (Forane 449A), so many customers may not even know that it is a Chemours’ product. In most cases it will be seamless, but I do have to wonder if it is a bit awkward for Arkema. After all, they are used to being a manufacturer, not a distributor.

About Arkema

When I think of refrigerant manufacturers four names pop right into my head. Chemours, Honeywell, MexiChem, and Arkema. Now, obviously, the first two Chemours and Honeywell are the biggest. I like to think of these guys as our ‘gold’ manufacturers. We see a lot of innovation and new technologies from these companies and they have plants and factories across the globe. Chemours’ revenue in 2017 was over six billion dollars. Honeywell was forty billion.

Our ‘Silver’ refrigerant manufacturers are MexiChem and Arkema. These companies are very large producers as well and have very recognizable brand names across the industry. While they are not the size of Chemours or Honeywell they are nothing to sneeze at. MexiChem’s 2017 revenue was just shy of six billion dollars. (Keep in mind that includes plastics and other manufacturing.) Arkema’s revenue from 2015 was over seven billion dollars. (Again, more products then just refrigerants.)

Arkema is a French based company headquartered just outside of Paris. They are a fairly ‘new’ company having been founded in 2004. I say ‘new’ in quotations as Arkema is as new as Chemours was. (Chemours was just an off-shoot of DuPont.) Arkema was an off-shoot of the French oil company known as Total. Total is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world.

Arkema has three main divisions: Coating Solutions, Industrial Chemicals, and Performance Products. They are one of the world’s largest producers of fluorinated chemicals under their brand name Forane. Their refrigerants and their Forane brand name can be found across the globe and are recognizable to most folks within the industry. Forty percent of their total sales take place within the European Union. Another thirty percent take place Americas. In fact, their operation sounds very similar to a Belgian based company that I work for during the day.

What is XP40?

R-449A, or Opteon XP40, is a new HFO refrigerant blend comprised of R-32, R-125, R-1234yf, and R-134a. This refrigerant, like Honeywell’s R-407F, was designed as a replacement product for R-22, R-404A, and R-507A. The difference here is that this an HFO refrigerant rather than an HFC. The XP40 is non Ozone depleting and has a GWP number of one-thousand two-hundred and eighty-two. That’s about five-hundred less then R-22 and two-thousand six-hundred and forty less than R-404A. That is a HUGE reduction in GWP on 404A applications. XP40 is non-toxic and non-flammable so safety is not an issue either. Along with that the Opteon XP40 is actually more energy efficient then CO2.

The best thing about XP40 though is that it is designed as a more or less drop-in replacement to R-404A. What that means is very little retrofitting work for the customer and for the contractor. XP40 can be used in supermarkets (Racks, walk-in coolers/freezers), food service, cold storage, food processing, chemical processing, and even in your local ice rink. I’ve written about XP40 in the past and it’s potential applications in ice rinks.

While I don’t see XP40 sticking around forever as it still does have a GWP of over one-thousand I can safely say that it is a definite stand-by and a step in the right direction. Once we move all of the higher GWP R-404A and R-22 systems over to a lesser GWP refrigerant like XP40 we can then begin looking at future refrigerants with even less Global Warming impact.

Conclusion

As I said in the beginning of this article I was surprised to see Chemours and Arkema partner together. I’m very anxious to see how this partnership works between them. Will Arkema welcome their new role as just a refrigerant distributor? Will Chemours also go through other channels to distribute their HFO line within the European Union, or will they stay loyal to Arkema? How does Honeywell view this arrangement? This will definitely be an interesting arrangement.

Oh, and I hope you liked the featured picture for this article. I took this last year when I was in Paris for work. You can see the Eiffel back there if you look hard enough!

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

For those of you who do not know, I am originally from Michigan. While I haven’t lived there for twenty or more years the state has always had a fond place in my heart. My extended family still live up there and I occasionally visit. It only makes sense for me to be a Red Wings fan. (If you couldn’t tell by the featured image!) After all, they are the only true hockey team out there…right?

Hockey, along with ice skating and curling, all depend on ice rinks. In the past ice rinks were rather isolated to colder climates due to the limits in technology but now over the years we can now find ice rinks as far south as Texas and Florida. The number of ice rinks have exploded, but what kind of refrigerants are they using today?

Depending on where you go in the world you will most likely find an ice rink using either R-717 (Ammonia) or R-22 (Freon). Here in the United States R-22 is most common and as all of you know it is being phased down and will be phased out in just over a year and a half. (2020 production/imports will stop.) The question now is what will all of these ice rink owners do if they need a repair or maintenance on their systems?

Most of the rinks out there today are older, some even as old as twenty or more years. In the past when a repair was needed they would pay for the parts and then a recharge but now with the rising price of R-22 even the smallest of repair can become a huge burden to the owner rather it be a businessman or a city. A lot of us cringe when trying to quote a homeowner for a few pounds of R-22. Now think about charging a customer for thousands of pounds of R-22. The price is just not feasible in today’s world and even if your customer could afford the recharge whose to say that they might not have a different problem months down the road and have to pay again for another recharge?

NHL & Chemours

The National Hockey League has launched a new initiate known as ‘Greener Rinks.’ The goal with this project is to provide more climate friendly ice rinks across North America. Today there are approximately forty-eight hundred rinks between the United States and Canada. The NHL’s initiative looks to tackle a variety of issues to ensure that their rinks are as climate friendly as possible. Some of these include replacing diesel run ice resurfacers with electric, replacing high intensity lights with LEDs, improvements to ice monitoring to ensure the proper thickness is met, and lastly refrigerants and refrigerant equipment.

It was announced today through a press release that the Chemours company (Formerly DuPont Refrigerants) is partnering with the National Hockey League in their Greener Rinks Initiative. This partnership isn’t just dedicated to the NHL’s arenas but instead to all aspects of hockey rather they be in community ice rinks or in large scale arenas like the Red Wings! The hope is to push these conversions and switches to all aspects of the country, not just to the big cities.

Chemours brings to the table eighty-five years of experience in the refrigerant industry. Some of you may not be as familiar with the Chemours name but I am sure you will recognize DuPont. Chemours is a split off from the original DuPont company and a lot of the same people that were at DuPont migrated over to the new Chemours Company. In fact it was often called the ‘Billion Dollar Startup.’

The goal of this partnership is to provide ice rink owners and cities the education and the possible alternatives to the expensive and dying R-22 refrigerant. When looking for alternatives business owners have a few key features that they are looking at:

  1. No Ozone depletion potential.
    1. Ozone depletion is the exact reason why we are phasing out R-22. Any replacement refrigerant would HAVE to have no Ozone depletion potential.
  2. Low Global Warming Potential or GWP.
    1. GWP is the new Ozone. In other words, now that the worry on the Ozone is gone there is a new concern about the GWP on all of these commonly used HFC refrigerants like R-404A. Any refrigerants with a high GWP are already being phased out or they are on the chopping block.
  3. Safety
    1. This is a big one as well as there are alternative refrigerants out there that may provide a great solution but may be either flammable or toxic. A great example here is R-717, or Ammonia. While R-717 is one of the most efficient refrigerants on the market it is also highly toxic and if a leak occurred things could get very messy and costly.
  4. Cost
    1. While we would all like to believe that these ice rink owners want to convert to alternative refrigerants out of the goodness of their hearts a lot of the time it’s going to boil down to cost. That’s exactly why there are so many R-22 rinks out there still today. Owners aren’t going to replace these expensive machines until they absolutely have to. Having a lower cost alternative refrigerant, especially one that can retrofit, is the perfect way to get these old units switched over to a more climate friendly refrigerant.

Chemours has committed to helping ice rink owners to finding the perfect alternative refrigerant for their needs. There are so many variables that have to be considered before selecting the proper refrigerant. How old is the equipment on sight? What safety standards are required? What performance or energy cost? I could sit here and try to go through everyone of these scenarios but it would serve you better to contact Chemours direct by clicking here. You can then be consulted by an expert who will guide you through exactly what kind of refrigerant you need.

Chemours’ Opteon XP40

One of the most popular alternative refrigerants to R-22 in ice rinks is the Opteon XP40. (R-449A) The reason for that is that older R-22 systems can be retrofitted over to accept XP40. That means significantly less cost to the business owner. I know if it was me, I would like to extend my current equipment as long as I could instead of having to pay millions for a completely new system.

R-449A, or Opteon XP40, is a new HFO refrigerant blend comprised of R-32, R-125, R-1234yf, and R-134a. This refrigerant, like Honeywell’s R-407F, was designed as a replacement product for R-22, R-404A, and R-507. The difference here is that this an HFO refrigerant rather than an HFC. HFO’s are the new lines of refrigerant being developed by Honeywell and Chemours.

The XP40 is non Ozone depleting and has a GWP number of one-thousand two-hundred and eighty-two. That’s about five-hundred less then R-22 and four-hundred less then Honeywell’s R-407F HFC. It is non-toxic and non-flammable so safety is not an issue. Along with that the Opteon XP40 is actually more energy efficient then CO2. The savings aganist CO2 is a big deal as that is one of the competing alternative refrigerants for ice rinks. While the popularity of CO2 ice rinks has not taken off yet the technology for Co2 refrigerant systems is evolving rapidly. (It has already been adapted for usages in automobiles in Germany.)

While XP40 checks most of the boxes that we mentioned earlier there is one downside that I want to point out. It’s the high GWP number. While, yes, it is lower then R-22 and other HFC refrigerants out there it is still relatively high. A high GWP number means that the refrigerant very well may be targeted for phase down or phase out.

Conclusion

Chemours’ partnership with the National Hockey League will benefit both companies greatly. Chemours will get their Opteon brand promoted across the NHL and the NHL will move closer to achieving their greener ice rinks initiative.

Converting all of the ice rinks over to climate friendly refrigerants is going to be a large endeavor. In the short term, especially as R-22 rises in price, I could see retrofits dominating the market. It is the ‘easy’ solution. Chemours is in a great position here with their XP40 product. But, as these current units age and eventually get to expensive to repair a new more permanent refrigerant solution will be needed. What will it be? Opteon? Solstice? Ammonia? Carbon Dioxide? Time will tell.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

Everyone in the industry knows of Chemours and their former parent company DuPont. Chemours was known as the ‘billion dollar startup,’ back in 2015 when they split from DuPont and formed an entirely new company. Ever since then they have grown and have become an aggressive competitor. Along with Honeywell, Chemours is one of the largest refrigerant manufacturers, producers, and researchers in the world. In fact, they and Honeywell are responsible for the new line of HFO refrigerants. (Chemour’s brand is known as Opteon Refrigerants.)

Today I was notified via Twitter that Chemours had made a new acquisition. I have to say that my mind wandered a bit trying to think of who it could be. A distribution network? A reclaimation company? Instead of guessing I looked across Google for any updates. It wasn’t hard to find the news.

Chemours purchased a much smaller company out of Indiana known as ICOR International. ICOR is an innovator in the refrigerant world. Instead of making due with the status quo during all of these phase downs and phase outs they took it upon themselves to come up with alternative refrigerants that could be used in existing machines and that would also be environmentally friendly. As I write this article there is not yet any information on the details of the purchase, how much was paid, what the terms are, or anything like that yet. I am not sure if this information will be released to the public or not.

 

About ICOR

ICOR International was originally known as Indianapolis Refrigeration and in 1995 they incorporated and changed their name to ICOR International. They got their start at around the time the R-12 phase out had begun. When the R-12 phase down began in the early 1990’s all of this was new. It was the first major phase down of a refrigerant and there just weren’t a lot of solutions or alternative options out there. Around this same time ICOR developed their own R-12 refrigerant known as ‘Hot Shot.’ This new refrigerant nearly duplicated the characteristics of R-12. This gave consumers and business owners another option which was needed, especially when being faced with the ever increasing cost of R-12. This ‘Hot Shot’ brand of ICORs can also be used to replace other common refrigerants such as R-134a, 401A, 401B, along with many more.

History repeated itself when the R-22 phase down began. A lot of you may have already heard of ICOR’s R-22 alternative known as NU-22, or a newer version known as NU-22B. Again, ICOR’s goal here was to establish a solid alternative refrigerant to the HCFC R-22. Like with most R-22 alternatives out there their product offers a near drop-in replacement, larger capacity, and improved efficiency. I would have to say that this brand was a solid success within the marketplace. Why else would Chemours be so interested in purchasing?

Along with these innovative refrigerants ICOR provides your everyday common refrigerants like 404A, 410A, 125, and others. They are also a provider of Hydrocarbon refrigerants such as R-290 (Propane) and R-600a (Isobutane.) As HFCs are phased down across the world the demand for Hydrocarbons will be growing.

Conclusion

Like with a lot of acquisitions Chemours is purchasing ICOR and their brand name more than anything. They get their alternative refrigerants as well as any new projects that they had been working on. Yes, they also get their distribution network, customers, and overall business but I have to believe that Chemours already had this part of their business established. It is the brand that sells folks.

What I am wondering here is that is this the beginning of a trend? There are a lot of ‘mom and pop,’ small refrigerant innovators and manufacturers out there in the United States. Is this purchase of ICOR the first in a set of dominoes to be gobbled up by Chemours and Honeywell? The jury is still out on how this purchase and any future purchases will affect the industry but with most things as of late we are seeing a trend of consolidation.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Over the past few years I have done numerous posts concerning the true cost per pound of R-22, R-410A, and R-134a. Each one of these posts have had outstanding success including the one I just published only a few days ago. (Link is here.) Throughout these articles I have yet to mention the refrigerant that is slowly picking up traction in the automotive world, HFO 1234YF.

1234YF is designed as a replacement for the HFC R-134a. While 134a is still active and going in the United States it has already been phased out in the European Union and it is only a matter of time before 134a is phased out the US as well. The scheduled beginning stages of phasing out 134a is scheduled for 2020, or on 2021 model years. It is worth noting that this date may change with the election of Donald Trump and the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Both of these guys are anti regulation and anti EPA. I could easily see them pushing out the 134a phase out date down the road.

Pricing on 1234YF

In my other articles I usually use the rule of thumb of going on Amazon and E-Bay to get a feel for the market price. There are usually multiple listings on both sites. These listings will allow you to gather an average price and base everything off of that. This method doesn’t work for 1234YF. For some reason I have found only one listing of 1234YF on E-Bay at $750.00. (This listing may go away in the future.)

No one else has taken the imitative to start selling 1234YF on Amazon or E-Bay. It very well could be that the sales just aren’t there yet but give it a few more years and I bet we’ll start seeing it pop up on these websites along with others. **Update – Please be aware that this product is now on Amazon.com for retail.

With all of that being said instead of using Amazon and E-Bay I am going to use my source from Refrigerant Depot, Eric Sugarman. In my e-mail discussion with Eric the other day he informed me that he is charging $675.00 per ten pound cylinder of 1234YF. (Price goes down further if you buy multiple quantities.) He also informed me that the price has been fairly stable over the past few years, much unlike the 134a counterpart.

Math

Alright so we’ve got two prices to work with here $745 on E-Bay and Refrigerant Depot’s $675. Let’s take a middle of the road number, $700, for our math example.

$700 / 10 pounds of refrigerant per cylinder = $70.00 per pound of HFO-1234YF

Each car is different on how many pounds of refrigerant they require. Some only require one pound and others upwards of eight to nine pounds. It is always best to check your owner’s manual or your dealership to see how much you need. In our example we’re going to call it three pounds of refrigerant to get a complete fill up of your vehicle.

3 pounds of refrigerant * $70.00 per pound = $210.00 for a complete fill up.

Now, please keep in mind that these prices CAN change. To give you a bit more help I have also included a feed from our Ebay partner below that shows you the current market price of R-1234yf:

HFO-1234YF Automotive Refrigerant YF 10 pound cylinder (424-418)

$660.00
End Date: Wednesday Dec-12-2018 9:16:20 PST
Buy It Now for only: $660.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Honeywell HFO-1234YF Refrigerant 10 lb Cylinder NEW, Sealed, Ships UPS ground

$675.00
End Date: Sunday Nov-25-2018 8:55:20 PST
Buy It Now for only: $675.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Remember, Mechanics Need Money Too

Ok, so we’ve got our numbers. If you are a do-it-yourselfer than you know how to take it from here. However, if you are taking your car into a shop to be worked on the thing that you need to remember is that $70.00 per pound is very nearly, or is, your mechanic’s cost. You are paying your mechanic or dealership for not only their labor but also for their expertize. Expect markup. Do NOT expect to pay $70.00 per pound. They deserve to be paid for their knowledge.

The goal of this article is two things:

  • If you are a small business, or do-it-yourselfer, this gives you the average price of 1234YF and an option to purchase it at Refrigerant Depot.
  • If you are having your car worked on at a dealership or a shop than this article gives you the knowledge to negotiate the price of your refrigerant down to a manageable markup. While you may not pay $70.00 per pound you will be able to recognize a gouge if they charge you $300 or $400 a pound.

What Cars are Using 1234YF Today?

As I said before 1234YF is still fairly new to the United States market. Each year the numbers of cars the US using this refrigerant is growing. While I couldn’t find a true up to date listing of every car that is using this refrigerant today I did find this article from last year listing some makes and models. (Source of list can be found here.)

  • BMW i3 Electric
  • Cadillac XTS
  • Chevrolet Malibu, Spark EV, Trax
  • Chrysler 200C, 200S, 300, 300C
  • Citroën C4, Elysëe
  • Dodge Challenger, Charger, Dart, Ram 1500
  • Fiat 500
  • Ford Transit
  • Great Wall Motor Company Limited – Voleex C30
  • Honda Fit EV
  • Hyundai Santa Fe, i30
  • Infinity Q50
  • Jaguar F Type
  • Jeep Cherokee, Renegade
  • Kia Sorento, Optima, Carenz, Cee’d2
  • Lexus GS450h
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mitsubishi Mirage
  • Opel Mokka
  • Peugeot 301, 308
  • Range Rover and Range Rover Sport
  • Renault Zoe 3
  • SAIC Motor Corporation Limited MG350/Rover 350
  • Subaru BRZ, Forrester, Impreza, XV
  • Tesla Model S
  • Toyota Yaris HSD, Prius Plus, GT86

This list is eighteen months old and it is already large. Imagine what this list will be like in just a few more years. I found this quote from November of 2016 off of Chemours’ official website:

“The use of HFO-1234yf is growing exponentially; by the end of 2017 an estimated 50 million vehicles are expected to use it in their air conditioning systems.” – Chemours Website

Imagine that, fifty million cars. It’s coming folks.

Conclusion

In conclusion 1234YF is here to stay. I would like to say that the high price tag of $700 for a ten pound cylinder is going to come down but to be honest over the past few years the price has stayed consistent. The days of cheap refrigerant may be over as we transition away from HFCs and over to the new HFO class of refrigerants. The hope that is as HFOs become more and more popular that the price begins to fall.

Either way I hope this article was helpful to you and ended up saving you some money!

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

Owner.

In case you were wondering HFO refrigerants are the refrigerants of the future. (Hydrofluoroolefins) The commonly used HFCs of today are already slowly being phased out across the world and are being replaced with either the Chemours Opteon brand or the Honeywell Solstice branded HFO alternatives.

The first and most popular HFO refrigerant that most of you are probably aware of by now is 1234YF. The 1234YF was designed to take the place of the R-134a automotive refrigerant that is used across the globe. The European Union banned R-134a from use in all new vehicles in the year 2013. Since then they have been exclusively using 1234YF. (There has been some blowback from Germany, but they have since switched over.)

In the United States it was announced last year by the Environmental Protection Agency that R-134a will be phased out on new automotive models by the year 2020. (2021 model years.)  Click here for an article on the planned phase out. The EPA hasn’t deemed an ‘official’ replacement yet for R-134a but everyone’s money is on 1234YF. Some United States automotive manufacturers and importers have already begun using 1234YF in 2015 and 2016 model years. (Jeep Grand Cherokee and Fiat are some examples.) It’s only a matter of time before other models  and manufacturers are added.

The Plant

With all of the demand in Europe and the expected growth in Asia and in the United States it only makes sense for The Chemours company to invest in a new and improved plant in their already established Ingelside, TX location. They will be investing two-hundred and thirty million dollars into their HFO plant. This investment will give Chemours the largest HFO manufacturing plant in the world and provide a competitive edge against their Honeywell competition.

The plant once finished will be expected to triple Chemours output of 1234YF as well as other alternative HFO refrigerants. You can expect to see alternatives to R-410A and R-404A being produced here as well. (DR-55 and XP-40) Ground breaking is expected in the third quarter of this year and the  expected finish date on the plant is third quarter of 2018.

Click here for Chemour’s official press release on their plant.

Conclusion

HFOs are the future and in only a few short years you will begin seeing them everywhere in the United States. Rather it’s on your car, in the supermarket, your home air conditioner, or even in your refrigerator they will become part of everyday life. Are you ready?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner

Sources

Opteon DR-55 to Replace R-410A?

Yesterday I did a post about the upcoming meeting in Dubai to discuss the phase out of HydroFluroCarbons. Well, before we can phase out HFC refrigerants we need to have a suitable replacement product. The refrigerant industry is moving towards HydroFluroOlefins, or HFOs, instead of the alternative natural refrigerant such as CO2, Propane, or Ammonia.

There is already an HFO replacement, 1234YF, for the R-134a refrigerant that is in wide scale production and is being used throughout the European Union. Another common HFC refrigerant, R-404A, also has a direct HFO replacement out known as R-452A. That only leaves one big HFC refrigerant left needing a replacement, and it’s a big one.

It seems like just yesterday we were switching everybody over to R-410A systems but now it seems that 410A systems will be going away before we know it. The Chemours Company, formerly DuPont, has come out with a  new HFO R-410A replacement known as DR-55, or under their brand name of Opteon XL55.

Facts of DR-55

What are the benefits of this new HFO refrigerant? How does it compare to 410A? Does it still operate at the higher pressure level? Can it be dropped in or will retrofitting be required? I pulled this information from the official Chemours site and it can be found by clicking here.

  • DR-55 is non O-Zone depleting.
    • This seemed like it would be a given since all of the hassle we went through in the 90s and 2000s on CFCs/HCFCS.
  • DR55 has a lower Global Warming Potential, or GWP, compared to it’s HFC 410A counterpart.
    • R-410A has a GWP of 2,088 whereas DR-55 has a GWP of 698. That is an over sixty percent reduction.
    • It is important to note that yes, DR-55 has a lower GWP than R410A but it still has a rather high GWP and it will most likely be replaced by something new and better in the future. The goal here is to get the GWP number as low as possible.
  • Low Flammability – This has been an on-going concern on the new HFO refrigerants. Daimler, and some other German manufacturers, have expressed concern on the R-134a HFO counterpart 1234YF due to it’s flammability.
  • Five percent more efficient than R-410A refrigerant.
  • Direct replacement for R-410A units, no retro-fitting required.

Opteon-XL55-properties

Trane

Last week the company Trane showed the first ever air cooled demonstration chiller with the new DR-55 HFO refrigerant at the International Conference of Refrigeration in Yokohama, Japan. At this time DR-55 is being evaluated by the HVAC industry and government agencies for use in residential units.  Once approved it is expected units could start shipping in twelve to eighteen months.  It may take some time before we begin seeing DR-55 here in the United States but I would predict it will start picking up popularity in the Asian markets and potentially in the European Union.

I gathered this information from the article linked here.

Summary

All in all I believe DR-55 could be a viable alternative to the R410A. The question is how long will it be before DR-55 is replaced by something new and shiny? I might be a little cynical here but it seems like every few years we find something wrong with the current refrigerant that we are using. If DR-55 does become a common replacement I predict it will only be around for ten to fifteen years before the next new thing comes along promising better environmental protection.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed the article please take the time to subscribe to our newsletter or like us on Facebook.

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Sources

 

 

DuPont’s New Chemours Company to Launch July 1st, 2015

In October of 2013 DuPont announced that they would be creating a new company for their chemical manufacturing division. The new company would be called the ‘Chemours Company.’ The name Chemours comes from a combination of the word Chemicals and of the small town in France called Nemours. (The DuPonts were from Nemours.) This new spin-off of DuPont will now handle all of it’s refrigerant manufacturing and distribution as well as it’s titanium technologies. I wrote an article on this change back in May as well and it can be found here.

Chemours will be a completely separate company from DuPont, so it is better to see not so much as a child company but as a completely unaffiliated company. The new company is expected to launch completely on July 1st and it is expected to be able to purchase stocks as early as June 19th, 2015.

Even though ‘Chemours’ is a new company it is already being valued at an estimated $5.9 billion dollars. (You can read more about the stock side of the switch by clicking here to go to a Forbes article.) On top of the $5.9 billion projection it is set to be one of the top manufacturers of refrigerants in the world. Chemours will be a very recognized brand name very soon.

Dirty Laundry

I’ve always been a fan of DuPont. They are the primary inventory of mainstream refrigerants, they have created numerous inventions and innovations that we use in today’s modern world, and they even had a major part in our World War 2 effort. Not to mention that they and HoneyWell have some of the most reputable products on the market today. You want quality? You buy DuPont, it’s just a given. Over the years they’ve earned that reputation.

With all that being said it’s time to take a look as to why DuPont is spinning their refrigerant division into a completely separate company. Conglomerates don’t do this without reason and upon doing some research I came across the following:

  • DuPont has been split up by the government numerous times in it’s history. It seems that it gets to the point of a monopoly and then the government intervenes and splits them up. They were not there yet with refrigerants but it was only a matter of time. There only main competition was HoneyWell, MexiChem, and the cheap import Chinese refrigerants. I believe they did this split to shrink their company and to hopefully prevent any prying eyes from the government. After all they are going from a $36 billion dollar company to a $5.9 billion dollar company.
  • They are using this as an excuse to ‘restructure’ their entire refrigerant manufacturing process and distribution. Restructure is code for lay offs and lost jobs. All over the place. Now DuPont/Chemours are not saying exactly how many people are being laid off but I have found quite a few articles from that are showing just some of the lay offs.
  • Environmental responsibilities and liabilities. There is a group, Keep Your Promises DuPont, that is pushing for action against DuPont from the Securities and Exchange Commission. They are claiming that by DuPont splitting into this new Chemours company that they are absolving any and all environmental liability from DuPont over to this new, smaller, and weaker Chemours company. So, if something goes wrong, there is a big environmental issue, or anything else that could potentially go wrong DuPont is no longer liable for any wrong doing. It all goes to Chemours. You can read more about this by clicking on this article from Delaware Online.

Conclusion

As you can see not is all as it seems. Yes, we will still be getting the same quality product that DuPont has manufactured for years but it is also worth taking a look at the bigger picture and see exactly why DuPont is doing this transition. Around 10,000 people lost their jobs and they are potentially absolving themselves of any future environmental responsibility. But, on the other hand we are now looking at a company that is solely dedicated to chemical manufacturing and distribution. Time will only tell if this is good fro the consumer, or if it was good for DuPont.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

DuPont Refrigerant Splits into New Chemours Company

DuPont refrigerants is no more. Let that sink in for a second. OK, ready? Instead of DuPont Refrigerant you now have Chemours Refrigerant.

In 2013 DuPont announced that they would be separating their refrigerant division into a completely new company called ‘The Chemours Company.’ This new company would be completely independent and separate from DuPont. In the official announcement in 2013 the completion date was estimated around first or second quarter 2015 and so far they have lived up to their goals. A timeline of Chemours’ history and their official website can be found by clicking here.

Even though Chemours is a new company and could jokingly be called a ‘start-up,’ it is nowhere near a start up. They will be starting their first year with guaranteed seven billion in sales, with a presence in over one-hundred and thirty countries, as well as having all of the former DuPont management at the reigns. Also, did I mention that this stat up has nine thousand employees already? Now if only my start up could get this kind of traction!

I was reading through their Frequently Asked Question section earlier today and it seemed pretty standard to be honest. If you’re interested the FAQs can be found by clicking here. The one thing to mention is that Chemours will not just be dealing with the refrigerant side of DuPont’s business but also with Titanium Technologies and Chemical Solutions. It’s pretty much all of their chemical divisions being merged into one separate company.

History

DuPont has a long history of splitting into various companies. For example, were you aware that Pierre DuPont helped fund General Motors in their beginning and was eventually the chairman of GM? DuPont and GM actually partnered together to come up with the first trademarked Refrigerant. DuPont led General Motors for nearly forty years but they were eventually forced to give up ownership of GM due to goverment anti-trust laws.

DuPont was also split up by the goverment in the early 1900s for their monopoly in the explosives industry after they purchased numerous smaller explosive companies over the course of a few years. Did I mention in the 1980s that DuPont purchased all of Conoco as well? At least with Conoco they weren’t forced to sell by the goverment. They sold their Conoco ownership in 1999 to another petroleum company.

Now, I can only guess as to why DuPont decided to split up their refrigerant and chemical division but given their track record of holding monopolies and eventually being split up maybe they just jumped the gun before the government intervened. Besides Honeywell what other major refrigerant manufacturers are there out there? You could count Mexichem here in the United States and there are a few here and there across the world but the two powerhouses are HoneyWell and now Chemours. Not many others can compete with their price and quality.

Conclusion

In essence this new Chemours company isn’t really going to change much within the industry. It’s the same people running it from DuPont, the same plants and manufacturers as DuPont, and you’re getting the same great quality that DuPont provided in years past.

The ONLY thing that I can predict changing over the next few months and years is that the DuPont name will eventually be phased out and you will begin to see the new Chemours name take place on all of their cylinders and tanks you purchase from them.

Even though nothing is really changing saying goodbye to DuPont refrigerants seems like the end of an era.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.