HFO

R-1234yf, or HFO-1234yf is soon to be one of the most popular refrigerants in the world. Making it’s debut in the early 2000’s it has quickly rose to power and will soon be the dominant refrigerant in the automotive industry. Today, as I write this in October of 2017 there are approximately thirty-five million cars on the road that are using 1234yf. This number will only grow as R-134a is no longer allowed on newer models in the European Union and will be banned from newer models in the United States by 2020. (2021 model year.)

With this refrigerant being in such high demand I have found very little information about it. There seemed to be a scattering and mish mash of data from various websites across the internet. My goal here with this post is to give the most comprehensive and complete guide to all of the facts, questions, and points of note on 1234yf. Let’s take a look:

The Facts

Name:HFO-1234yf
Name - Scientific:2,3,3,3 -
Tetrafluoropropene
Name (2):R-1234yf
Name (3):Opteon YF (Chemours' Brand)
Name (4):Solstice YF (Honeywell Brand)
Classification:Hydrofluroolefin
Chemistry:Carbon, Hydrogen, Fluorine with a double Carbon bond.
Chemistry (2):
Status:Active and Growing Market
Applications:Mobile Air Conditioning (Automotive) and Domestic Refrigeration
Replacement For:HFC R-134a and CFC R-12
Ozone Depletion Potential:0
Global Warming Potential:4
Toxicity Levels:A (No Toxicity Identified.)
Flammability Levels:2L (Mildly flammable.)
Lubricant Required:Pag Oil (Check unit for specific type.)
Boiling Point:−29°C (−22°F)
Critical Temperature:95°C (203°F)
Critical Pressure:34 bar(a)
Auto ignition Temperature:405°C (761°F)
Manufacturers:Honeywell, Chemours, and Arkema
Manufacturing Facilities:Texas, Louisiana, & China
Form:Liquefied Gas
Color:Clear
Odor:Slight
EPA Certification Required:609
Require Certification to Purchase?Yes, 609
Cylinder Color:White with Red Band
Cylinder Design:Fitted with left-handed valve that will be CGA 166 type.
Cylinder Design (2):Contains a pressure relief valve on the cylinder shoulder.
Price Point:Very high price when compared to R-134a.
Where to Buy Can or Cylinder?Amazon.com, O'Reillys, Napa, Autozone, Dealerships
Bulk Purchasing:CLICK FOR A QUOTE!

Points of Note

Ok, so we’ve got the basic facts out of the way now on this refrigerant. Now let’s take a look at some of the more interesting points about this refrigerant.

  • As I am sure most of you know 1234yf is meant to take the place of the very popular HFC R-134a refrigerant. This has already happened in the European Union as of January 1st, 2017 and will be happening in the United States by the year 2020. (Model year 2021.) Know that those dates are the deadline though and some manufacturers are already using 1234yf on newer vehicle models.
  • R-134a and 1234yf systems are very similar to each other. In fact this was one of the reasons that 1234yf was chosen as an alternative refrigerant. A few of the major differences can be read below:
    • Slight design differences in the design specs of certain components like TXVs, ports, evaporators, and condensers.
    • Service ports are different then 134a. This is done to alert the technician that this is a 1234yf unit and also prevents the technician from accidentally connecting the wrong hose and mixing refrigerants. So even if you aren’t paying attention and try to hook up your 134a hose you’ll quickly realize you’re working on a YF unit.
    • With 1234yf systems they have added a Suction Line Heat Exchanger, also known as an internal heat exchanger. This is an additional component located before the expansion valve. It is a state change helper that is used to improve overall efficiency of the unit. You may have even noticed these on newer model 134a systems as well. There are no moving parts on this addition as it is part of the hose line.
    • The operating pressures and temperatures of 1234yf are VERY similar to that of 134a. As I said before this was done intentionally to make for an easy transition. Refer back to my fact sheet above to see the boiling temperatures.
    • 1234yf uses PAG oil just like R-134a but please note that it uses a different type of PAG oil. It is always safest to read the sticker labels under your hood or to consult the instruction manual before adding in any oil.
    • Evaporator designs must meet JAE standard J2842. YF is tougher on evaporators then 134a and this new standard is to prevent wear and tear and premature failure.
  • 1234yf is classified by the ASHRAE as a 2L flammable gas. That means that 1234yf is rated as mildly flammable. Depending on who you are this could be a big deal or it couldn’t matter at all. There are two ways to look at this. Your car is already carrying gasoline in it and I can assure you that gas is far more flammable then 1234yf. On the other hand adding more flammable liquids to your car only increases your chance of fire during a collision.
  • At the very minimum you will need to purchase a new refrigerant recovery machine if you plan to be working on 1234yf units in the future. The machine will have to meet SAE spec J2843. I will go into this further in our tools section further on down the page.
  • YF’s price is significantly higher than what you are used to with a R-134a cylinder. A typical thirty pound cylinder of 134a would be around one-hundred and twenty dollars. If we divide that up that’s about four dollars a pound. Conversely, the cost of a ten pound cylinder of 1234yf is around seven-hundred dollars. Let’s divide that up as well. After the math we get seventy dollars a pound. That is a sixteen-hundred and fifty percent increase in cost. There are going to be a lot of shocked people when this refrigerant begins to get popular.
  • You may not be seeing very many cars come into your shop today with YF refrigerant, especially here in the United States. There is a reason for that. Yes, there a lot of cars on the road that are using this new refrigerant but these cars are so new that most of them are falling under warranty when something goes wrong. What we are seeing today, October 2017, is a lot of dealerships doing the YF repairs. If we wait a few more years, say 2019-2020 I predict that a lot of the aftermarket shops out there will begin to see the demand for YF repairs. It just takes time folks. Hopefully by then the cost would have gone down.
  • For those of you in the distribution industry or even those of you who like to buy cylinders in bulk you should know that 1234yf is labeled as a hazardous material. You will need to follow certain restrictions if you plan on storing a significant amount of YF at your facility. I won’t go too deep into it here but if you click this link you’ll be taken to Honeywell’s website with more information on the topic. It is best to read up on this topic and also to consult with your local fire department to ensure that you are in standard.

Servicing 1234yf

Let me start this off with saying that a 1234yf system is VERY similar to an R-134a system. If you are familiar with 134a repairs then you should be just fine with YF repairs as well. That being said there are a few points that I want to make to you before we move on to the next section:

  • Just like before in order to legally work on an HFO-1234YF unit you will need to be section 609 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. If you are working at a shop then you are most likely already certified but if you are not then contact your service manager and see what steps need to be taken to get you certified. The certification is no different between R-134a and R-1234YF.
  • While a new certification is not necessary there is additional training available through SAE Spec J2845. This training will go over specific requirements and techniques when servicing either 1234yf or R-744 mobile air conditioning systems. The easiest way to acquire this training is to retake your 609 certification exam through MACS Worldwide. They have updated their test to include YF material.
  • The recovery and recycling procedures on 1234yf machines are basically identical to R-134a machines. The only differences that you will notice are:
    • When beginning to charge your system the recovery machine will do a vacuum hold test that will go for around two minutes. If the vacuum holds then we move onto the next step. If it doesn’t hold then check for leaks in your system.
    • Once we have passed the vacuum test the recovery unit will deliver a fifteen percent charge to the system. This is known as a ‘precharge,’ of the system.
    • While this is going on the tech will be prompted to start the blower motor on low, grab his leak detector, and then check the front evaporator inside the car for any leaks.
    • After giving it some time to check for leaks go back to your recovery unit and alert it if you found a leak or not. If your vehicle has a dual system then you will also need to check your rear evaporator for leaks as well.
    • If the leak detector did not trigger any leaks with the fifteen percent charge in the system then the recovery machine will go ahead and put the rest of the refrigerant back into the system.
    • After the system has been fully charged, disconnect your lines, and reseal the valves just like your normally would.
    • Some of you may be groaning at the extra steps when compared to R-134a. Well, with all things, there is a reason why these are performed. The fifteen percent precharge and leak detection step is key to catching a leak on your vehicle before it has been fully charged. If we catch the leak early while the charge is still low we can save loss of refrigerant, save your shop some cash on that refrigerant, save the customer money, and also prevent further damage to the environment. It’s a win win for all involved.

1234yf Necessary Tools

We have gone over the requirements to service 1234yf but now we need to cover what kind of tools that you will need. Like with most new technology comes new tools. Let’s take a look:

  • This first one is optional and truth be told a lot of you may not even need it as a good recovery unit should have gauges built in. But, if you want to have them as a backup or just like do things the old fashioned way then a good set of gauges will never let you down. We here at RefrigerantHQ recommend you buy the Robinair 41234 Manifold Gauge Set from our E-Bay Partner.
  • The next essential tool is a electronic refrigerant leak detector. For an HFO detector you want to make sure that it meets SAE spec J2913. Our pick here at RefrigerantHQ is INFICON’s Tek-Mate Refrigerant Leak Detector. We did a review on this detector just last month. Click here to view.AC1234-6 Robinair 1234YF Recover, Recycle, Recharge Machine
  • A refrigerant identifier is also a must. Now some guys prefer to have a stand alone identifier while others prefer to just use the one that is built into their recovery machine. It’s up to you. Just be aware that if you do go with the stand alone that it should meet SAE spec J2912. (I’d recommend you go with the recovery machine, skip the identifier, and save some money.)
  • Lastly, and most importantly you’re going to need to purchase a whole new recovery/recharge machine in order to service HFO-1234yf. Yes, I know. It’s an expensive switch but like it or not every shop in town and across the industry is going to have purchase one of these. You’ll either bite the bullet now or a few years from now. Here at RefrigeantHQ we recommend purchasing the Robinair AC1234-6 recovery machine. Like I mentioned before this unit comes with a refrigerant identifier built right in so you don’t have to worry about buying one of those as well. This unit was the first commercially available recovery machine to meet the new SAE standards J2843 for a 1234yf recovery machine. Click here to purchase on Amazon and click here to view Robinair’s official product page.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What applications will use 1234yf?
    • Mostly it will be automobiles that use 1234yf. Eventually we will see medium duty and even heavy duty vehicles come over to the YF side as well.
  • When will 1234yf come to the United States?
    • It’s already here! While the actual phase out R-134a doesn’t go into effect until the year 2020 many auto manufacturers have already taken the initiative and have begun using 1234yf on their newer model vehicles.
  • Why are we switching refrigerant again for automobiles?
    • I am sure most of you remember the days of R-12 refrigerant. R-12 was phased out back in 1992 due to the Ozone depleting Chlorine that it contained. The substitute that we used for R-12 was the new HFC called R-134a. It was later found that R-134a had a very high Global Warming Potential, or GWP, number. GWP is a measurement of Greenhouse Gases and their effect on Global Warming. A lower GWP alternative to R-134a had to be found and thus we have the new 1234yf.
  • How is 1234yf different from R-134a?
    • 134a is a Hydroflurocarbon refrigerant while 1234yf is a Hydrofluroolefin refrigerant. While these are two separate classes of refrigerants they are in fact very close to each other. The only main difference is that the HFO refrigerants have a double carbon bond whereas HFCs do not.
  • I read that 1234yf is flammable, should I be worried?
    • Truth be told, it’s not that big of a concern. Yes, it’s mildly flammable but so is the gasoline in your car. There have been countless tests from all different companies and organizations from all over the world. Throughout all of these tests there has been only one that found bad results from flammability. I will get further into this one bad test in the ‘history’ section in this post.
  • Do I need to do anything different to work on a YF unit if I am already 609 certified?
    • No, if you are 609 certified through the EPA already you are legally able to work on these new YF units. However, it may make sense to go through 609 training again and to take the test again as these tests have been updated to include newer YF questions.
  • Do I need to be certified to purchase 1234yf refrigerant?
    • Yes, as of January 1st, 2018 you will need to 609 certified with the EPA in order to purchase 1234yf refrigerant. The only exception is when purchasing containers that contain less then two pounds of refrigerant. This new rules applies to R-134a cylinders as well.
  • Will I see a difference between temperatures and pressures when working on a 1234yf unit?
    • There is a slight difference as you go up in temperature but for the most part 134a and 1234yf work on very similar temperatures and pressure.

Auto Manufacturers Using 1234YF

As I have said throughout this article there is a numerous list of automotive manufacturers that have already begun using the new 1234yf refrigerant. I may miss some here but I aim to show you some of the manufacturers that are currently using the new HFO refrigerant. The point here is to show you that this stuff isn’t going away and that in fact it is only becoming more popular. This data is from 2017 and a make list does not necessarily mean that all of their models are using 1234yf. Let’s take a look:

  • Buick
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Dodge
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • Honda
  • Jaguar
  • Jeep
  • Kia
  • Land Rover
  • Lincoln
  • Subaru
  • Toyota

These are all huge names in the car industry and while not all of their models are covered under YF I feel that it is only a matter of time before they all make the switch. (Keep in mind too that the EPA’s mandated deadline is 2020/2021 model year.)

History of 1234yf

So, when did all of this start? Well, to understand the history of 1234yf and the other HFO refrigerants we first have to go back in time to the 1980’s. Back then all automotive applications were using the CFC R-12 refrigerant for their air conditioning. R-12 was the original mainstream refrigerant that came from the 1930’s. Ever since then it and R-22 had gained and gained in popularity until they were practically found everywhere across the country and the world.

It was in the 1980’s that a team of scientists out of California realized that all of the Chlorine that was in CFC and HCFC refrigerants was causing damage to the Ozone layer. When vented or leaked the refrigerant would drift up and into the atmosphere. It is there where the Chlorine would do it’s damage. Eventually it got so bad that a thinning of the Ozone layer began to form over the Arctic. The scientists noticing this sounded the alarm and the world’s governments took action by creating the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol is a treaty that was signed in the late 1980’s by more then one-hundred countries. It’s goal was to rid the world of using Ozone depleting substances like CFC and HCFC refrigerants. This treaty was enacted in countries all over the world. The first target was CFC refrigerants such as R-12. In 1992 R-12 was phased out of the automotive market in the United States and was replaced with the newer HFC refrigerant known as R-134a. R-134a had the benefit of not containing Chlorine so with its usage there would be no danger to the Ozone layer.

Lo and behold there was found to be another problem with R-134a. Instead of the Ozone layer issue we now had a new issue called Global Warming Potential. Global Warming Potential, or GWP, is a measurement of how much heat a greenhouse gas can trap in the atmosphere. The basic measurement on GWP is Carbon Dioxide which measures as one. This is our standard. Now, if we look at R-134a’s GWP number we can see a number of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty. Quite the difference here folks. We can now begin to see why a substitute for 134a was needed as well.

Enter HFO-1234YF

The problem was discovered and companies along with governments began to look for an alternative solution to R-134a and to other HFC refrigerants that were currently on the market as early as 2001. That’s less then ten years after the switch from R-12! While there were a plethora of ideas presented such as Hydrocarbons, R-744, or other natural refrigerants there were two companies that were doing the research, development, and work on creating and perfecting a new refrigerant known as HFO-1234yf. These companies were Honeywell and DuPont/Chemours.

In 2006 the European Union came out with a directive known as 2006/40/EC. This directive’s goal was to reduce the emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases from mobile air conditioning systems. This would be a gradual phase out across the European Union. The end goal was to have automobiles using refrigerants that had a Global Warming Potential, or GWP, number of one-hundred and fifty or less. The first major date of the phase out was 2008, then 2011, and then finally on January 1st 2017 any new vehicle using a refrigerant with a GWP higher then one-hundred and fifty would be banned from the European Union. The problem here was that there wasn’t a viable alternative to HFC refrigerants at the time this directive was made. I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression: Necessity is the mother of invention.

This timeline put even more pressure on Honeywell and Chemours. In only a few short years later in 2008 they presented HFO-1234yf to the Society of Automotive Engineers Cooperative Research Program. (SAE CRP1234) The society concluded that 1234yf offered superior environmental performance and that 1234yf was safe to use in automotive applications. After this test came a whole host of other tests from companies, governments, and other organizations all over the globe. Everyone wanted to make sure that this new refrigerant was not only good for the environment but also safe. Remember now folks that the new YF refrigerant went up a flammability level to 2L. Was it safe to use? Most everyone said that yes, it was… but there was one company that disagreed.

Daimler

There was one major bump in the road of HFO-1234yf to becoming the dominant automotive refrigerant. In 2012 Daimler began their own internal testing with 1234YF on some of their vehicles. They claimed that in some of their tests that when the refrigerant tank ruptured during an accident that the refrigerant ignited and caused a fire to occur. The video can be seen below. In the video there is a test with 1234yf leaking and then there is a test with R-134a leaking. The video speaks for itself.

There were many disputes from numerous companies and organizations from all over the world to this test and claim from Daimler that the new refrigerant was unsafe for use. For a time it seemed like German Automakers were going to fight HFOs tooth and nail. They had their hearts set on R-744 CO2.  Over the years though there have been numerous court battles and fines issued by the European Union but still Germany persisted against 1234yf.

Eventually a lot of these companies lost the war of attrition and have folded into the 1234YF HFO craze and from the pressure from the European Union. There is one company, Daimler, that is pursuing their own route into the future by developing CO2 R-744 automobile air conditioning systems. Eventually, in 2015 Daimler did agree to use 1234yf in their new vehicles but this was only done to appeal the European Union. In the background, and now in 2017, very publicly Daimler has been developing and testing R-744 or Carbon Dioxide refrigerant modeled cars. It will definitely be interesting to see how this new technology develops over the years.

The EU and the USA

In 2017 the final law went into effect across the European Union and 1234YF was found in every new car that was manufactured or imported into the EU. The only exception that I know of is Daimler and their CO2 automobiles. While the European Union market was changing there was also change going on in the United States.

It seems that the EU is always a precursor for what happens here in the states. In 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency announced a new rule under their SNAP program called rule 20. This new rule dictated the eventual phase out of HFC refrigerants across the United States. While there are many HFC refrigerants in this ruling I will stick with R-134a for now. The basis of the rule was that by the year 2020, or model year 2021, all new manufactured or imported vehicles would not be able to use R-134a. There is room for a few exclusions here and there but these can only push the date back to 2025. Another thing to note here is that they do not state medium duty or heavy duty vehicle markets. So, that means your trucks, haulers, and other large equipment are not included in this ruling as of yet.

By combining the EU’s policy on R-134a and now the United States’ public policy everyone knew that the most logical choice for an alternative was HFO-1234yf. Sure, there were companies like Daimler researching R-744 but this was not a viable alternative at this point in time. Production had to be increased on YF as soon as possible. Earlier this year, 2017, the Chemours company broke ground on a new 1234YF manufacturing plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. This new facility is expected to triple the company’s output of 1234yf. Chemours was just following suit though as the Honeywell corporation actually opened up their new three-hundred million dollar facility in Geismar, Louisiana earlier this year.

These two companies know whats coming. There is a wave of demand that is going to hit and hit hard. The question you have to ask yourself folks is are you ready? Are your employees ready? Is your shop ready? If not today then tomorrow you may have a YF unit roll in. Are you going to know what to do? Are you going to be prepared?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Important Links

 

Hydrofluroolefin refrigerants, or HFOs, are the latest and greatest to come out to the refrigeration world. HFOs are known as the fourth generation of refrigerants. Their predecessors were the refrigerant classes CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. HFOs are widely considered to be the refrigerant of the future.

Each time a new class of refrigerants was introduced it was found out, years later, that the refrigerant in that class damages the environment. The first couple of classes known as CFCs and HCFCs were found to be damaging the Ozone layer due to the Chlorine that they contained. The third generation of refrigerants known as HFCs came around in the 1990’s as an alternative to older classes. But, over time it was found that HFCs had a very high and very damaging Global Warming Potential. (GWP)

The plan now is to phase out HFCs across the world and replace them with either Hydrocarbons or with the new HFO refrigerants designed and created in laboratories owned by Honeywell and Chemours. Much like HFCs HFO refrigerants are comprised of Hydrogen, Fluorine, and Carbon. Chemically, the only difference here between HFCs and HFOs is that HFOs are unsaturated meaning that they have at least one double bond.

The goal of the HFOs are to provide an alternative refrigerant that is safe, non Ozone depleting, and with a relatively low Global Warming Potential number.

HFO Refrigerants

  • R-1234YF or Tetrafluropropene. Also known under the Chemours’ Opteon and Honeywell’s Solstice brand names. 1234YF was the first HFO refrigerant developed by the two companies. It’s intended use was for automotive applications and over the years has begun to see widespread usage across the European Union and here in the United States as well. Chances are if you are purchasing a new vehicle it is coming with HFO-1234YF.
  • R-1234ze or Tetrafluropropene. Also known under the Chemours’ Opteon and Honeywell’s Solstice brand names. R-1234ze is a refrigerant designed to be an alternative to the stationary chillers or commercial air conditioning that you would see in supermarkets or commercial buildings.
  • R-1233zd. Also known under the Chemours’ Opteon and Honeywell’s Solstice brand names. It is designed to be a replacement for R-123. The targeted application here are centrifugal chillers. It has a VERY low GWP of one.
  • R-513A or Opteon XP10. A Chemours Opteon replacement for R-134a on stationary devices.
  • R-449A or Opteon XP40. A Chemours Opteon replacement for R-404A, R-507, and R-22 with a dramatic reduction in GWP and twelve percent improved energy efficiency.
  • R-452A or Opteon XP44. A Chemours Opteon replacement for R-404 and R-507 mainly for systems requiring low discharge temperatures such as refrigerated trucks or rail cars.
  • R-452B or Opteon XL55. A Chemours Opteon replacement for R-410A with a sixty-seven percent GWP reduction, high efficiency, and minimal changes required when retrofitting.
  • R-514A or Opteon XP30. A Chemours Opteon replacement for R-123 with lower GWP, non-flammable, and comes close to performance levels of R-123.
  • R-450A or Solstice N13. A Honeywell Solstice replacement for R-404A. The targeted application here is supermarket chillers or freezers. It’s GWP is sixty-eight percent lower than R-404A and requires fifteen percent less energy to run.
  • R-448A or Solstice N40. A Honeywell Solstice replacement for R-134a. The targeted application here are your heat pumps, air cooled and water cooled chillers, vending machines as well as other small stationary units.

I wanted to make a point to note that I wrote this above section in October of 2017. At the time I wrote this these were all of the HFO refrigerants that I could find. Now, as time moves on there may very well be additional refrigerants added to this list. In fact, I would be very surprised if there weren’t more added just next year. Honeywell and Chemours are working around the clock creating, discovering, and inventing all new HFO refrigerants. I will do my best to keep this list up to date but if you know of some that I missed please do not hesitate to reach out to me by clicking this link.

More Information on HFOs

The History

Ok, so above we covered the very basics of what HFOs are and the types of HFOs that are on the market today. Now we can begin to dig into the actual history of HFOs, what kind of brands there are out today, and what the future looks like for them.

Looking at things from a chemistry perspective HFOs are nothing new. Just like their HFC counterparts HFOs contain Hydrogen, Fluorine, and Carbon. The one real difference between these two refrigerants is that HFOs are unsaturated. In other words they have at least one double bond of carbon. These double bonded molecules are known as Olefins or Alkenes. This is where the name Hydrofluroolefins comes from. While HFOs may have been around for a while there was never a demand for them. HFCs were the favored refrigerant when CFCs and HCFCs went away in the 1990’s. It was in the early 2000’s that things began to change.

In 2006 the European Union came out with a directive known as 2006/40/EC. This directive’s goal was to reduce the emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases from mobile air conditioning systems. This would be a gradual phase out across the European Union. The end goal was to have automobiles using refrigerants that had a Global Warming Potential, or GWP, number of one-hundred and fifty or less. At the time of this directive most auto manufacturers were using the HFC R-134a. 134a has a GWP number of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty. Due to 134a’s high GWP number the EU’s directive would slowly phase out and ban R-134a. The first major date was 2008, then 2011, and then finally on January 1st 2017 any new vehicle using a refrigerant with a GWP higher then one-hundred and fifty would be banned from the European Union. The problem here was that there wasn’t a viable alternative to HFC refrigerants at the time this directive was made. I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression: Necessity is the mother of invention.

Something had to be done here. Someone had to step up and come up with a solid, stable, and safe refrigerant alternative to the widely used HFC refrigerants. It was the two major refrigerant companies known as Honeywell and DuPont/Chemours that came up to the plate and began researching and producing the first mainstream alternative HFO refrigerant.

A few years later in 2008 Honeywell and DuPont presented the new HFO alternative refrigerant known as 1234YF. This first refrigerant was the first of the new HFO classification line of refrigerants. The presentation was in front of the German Association of the Automotive Industry. (Think Daimler, Volkswagen, and BMW.) The new 1234YF had a GWP number of four. Yes, that’s right four. That is a HUGE improvement when compared to the large number that R-134a came with. 1234Yf was sure to please the European Union.

Not long after the presentation multiple companies and organizations began to endorse the new 1234YF refrigerant. At the time there was an uncertainity in the air of rather the auto manufacturers would go to R-744 (Carbon Dioxide) or to another alternative refrigerant like HFOs. Once the endorsements started coming on for 1234YF the whisperings of CO2 died and nearly everyone jumped on board with the new HFO.

There was one major bump in this road which I will dive into further in our safety section of HFOs but I wanted to mention it here shortly. In 2012 Daimler began their own internal testing with 1234YF on some of their vehicles. They claimed that in some of their tests that when the refrigerant tank ruptured during an accident that the refrigerant ignited and caused an explosion to occur. There were many disputes from numerous companies and organizations from all over the world to this claim. For a time it seemed like German Automakers were going to fight HFOs tooth and nail. They had their hearts set on R-744 CO2.  Over the years there have been numerous court battles and fines issued by the European Union. A lot of these companies have folded into the 1234YF HFO craze but there is one company, Daimler, that is pursuing their own route into the future by developing CO2 R-744 automobile air conditioning systems. In 2017 the final law went into effect across the European Union and 1234YF was found in every new car that was manufactured or imported into the EU. The only exception that I know of is Daimler and their CO2 automobiles.

It seems that with America we always lag behind the environmental standards of the EU. I remember back when I was in the trucking industry a decade ago the government mandated that all new diesel vehicles come with a Diesel Particular Filter and come with Diesel Exhaust Fluid. While this was quite a change here in the States it was old news in Europe. They had been doing this for years. I bring this up because the same thing is happening here with HFCs and HFOs.

The directive in 2006 from the European Union was the catalyst that got the HFO ball rolling. Once that started everyone and every country wanted to jump on board do what they can to phase out HFC refrigerants and replace them with more friendly lower Global Warming refrigerants. These could be Hydrocarbons or CO2 like we discussed before or they could be HFOs.

In the summer of 2015 the Obama Administration’s EPA announced a new rule to their SNAP program. This new rule called RULE 20 was aimed at phasing out HFC refrigerants across the United States. Shortly thereafter in 2016 nations gathered around the world and signed the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This amendment promised to phase out HFC refrigerants across the globe and replace them with more environmentally friendly alternatives such as HFOs.

While the demand for HFOs has already hit the European Union it has still to come in full force to the United States, but everyone knows that it is coming. DuPont/Chemours and Honeywell know this fact all too well. The Chemours Company is building the largest HFO manufacturing plant in the world right here in the United States in Corpus Christi, Texas to be exact. Honeywell is doing something very similar and has built and launched a new HFO plant in Geismar, Louisiana.

Safety Concerns

Let me get this out of the way first and foremost. There is no best refrigerant. Every refrigerant on the market today has Pros and Cons. If we go way back in the day of Ammonia based refrigerant we had the con of toxic chemicals leaking into your home if a leak occurred. HFCs were a relatively stable, safe, and non-flammable refrigerant but as I have covered up above they had the high Global Warming Potential.

The new HFO refrigerants have the big pro that they have a significantly lower Global Warming number but the sacrifice that we have to make for achieving this is the risk of flammability.

Refrigerants have three flammability classifications. The first known as class 1 indicates refrigerants that do not show flame propagation when tested in air at seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Class 2 indicates refrigerants that have a lower flammability limit. Finally, class 3 indicates refrigerants that are highly flammable. An example of a class 3 flammability refrigerant would be R-290 also known as Propane. (Think Hank Hill!)

The HFC refrigerant R-134a has a flammability rating of 1, just like most other HFC refrigerants on the market today. The newer HFO-1234YF has a flammability rating of 2. While it may not seem like a large difference I should point out again that there are only three levels. We’re going up an entire level so that we can reduce Global Warming Potential on our refrigerants. Now, don’t get me wrong here. HFOs just like other refrigerants in the market are safe in the right hands. If you know what you are doing then you’ll be just fine.

There is a risk that comes with replacing R-134a with an HFO. Remember now that 134a and 1234YF applications are mobile, after all they are automobiles. With a mobile application there is a chance of collision and with a chance of collision there is a chance of one of the refrigerant lines rupturing and leaking refrigerant across the rest of the car’s hot engine. No what would happen if that refrigerant that was spewing all over your hot engine was flammable?

This precise scenario is what the German automaker Daimler discovered in 2012. Daimler found that in a severe head on collision the refrigerant line can break apart and spray the 1234YF onto the exhaust system causing a fire. They even recorded a video showing a Mercedes-Benz hatchback catching fire under the hood after 1234YF refrigerant leaked onto the exhaust. The test can be seen in the below video. While the captions in German you don’t need them to understand what is happening here. The moment that refrigerant escapes it ignites nearly instantly. Terrifying stuff.

This test from Daimler shook the industry across the globe. There had been endless tests done on 1234YF before this by Honeywell, Chemours, and many other companies and they all came back safe. After this Daimler test hundreds of additional tests were conducted by other companies and again they all came back as safe.

Now, I can’t tell you who is in the right here. No one really knows. I will say that in 2015 Daimler did come around and state that they would publicly use 1234YF in their newer vehicles. I feel that this is just a cover though while Daimler develops and perfects their CO2 automobile technology. Once it is ready it will be rolled out for all of their makes and models and 1234YF will be left behind.

The question on everyone’s mind is if HFOs are safe. As I said before there have been numerous studies all saying yes. On top of that though I will also state that as I write this there are now thirty-five million 1234YF vehicles on the road today and I have not yet heard of a fire or explosion caused by them. I can guarantee that at least a few of these cars have had head on collisions but there has not been an incident yet. I like those odds.

Brands

Alright folks so we’ve gone into what HFOs are, their history, their future, and even the potential safety hazards. Now let’s take a look at the two brand names of HFO refrigerants that are on the market today. As I write this article in October of 2017 there are two main brand names and they both come from the two largest refrigerant manufacturers in the world: DuPont/Chemours and Honeywell.

Honeywell’s new brand name for HFO refrigerants is known as Solstice. DuPont, now split off into Chemours, brand name is known as Opteon. When a new refrigerant is released under these brand names it is released under a different name then what you may be used too. An example of this if we look at R-513A. To the industry it is known as R-513A but to Chemours it is known as Opteon XP10. Yes, I know it’s confusing but I can assure you that they are the same exact thing. Another example is the 1234YF refrigerant. This refrigerant from Honeywell is referred as Solstice YF. If you were to buy this from Chemours it would be known as Opteon YF. It’s the same thing just different labeling.

One additional point that I want to make on the HFO brand names is that at this point in time there are only two. This has me concerned due to the severe lack of competition. If you look at HFC refrigerants it seems like everyone and their brother makes them and that’s not even counting the imported Chinese product. All of this product on the market allows prices to stay relatively low and prevents companies from gouging consumers and contractors. I feel that it is going to be a shock to a lot of shops, dealerships, and even consumers when they need to recharge their HFO automobile and they find out that it’s seventy-two dollars a pound at a wholesale cost. If your car takes two pounds of refrigerant you’re looking at one-hundred and fifty dollars to recharge and that’s before the shop’s markup. Quite the difference when comparing it to a five dollar can of R-134a. That’s not even mentioning all of the new equipment that will have to be bought to service 1234YF vehicles.

Conclusion

It may take another decade, maybe even two, but I can assure you ladies and gentlemen that HFCs are dying. They will be entirely gone before you know it and they will be replaced by the newer and better HFO refrigerants.  Are you ready?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

As I am sure that all of you know when it comes to manufacturing refrigerant there are only a few players left in town. Sure there are some smaller companies scattered here and there across the country but for the most part when you are buying refrigerant it is coming from one of two companies: Honeywell or Chemours. (Formerly DuPont.) These two companies are household names because of their innovations and inventions but also because of their size. Honeywell’s revenue last year was thirty-nine billion dollars. Chemour’s net revenue last year was just shy of six billion dollars. (Don’t let that six billion number fool you though, Chemours was the DuPont company just a few years ago and we all know how big they are.)

There are other medium sized companies out there today that are still manufacturing refrigerants across the country and outside of the states. Now, I am not going to count the Chinese guys as half that stuff is counterfeit or not mixed correctly. Instead I am going to highlight two companies that you may have already heard of: MexiChem and Arkema. At this point in the game they are the only major competition against the two giants.

Mexichem and Arkema have been fighting the conglomerates Honeywell and Chemours tooth and nail on a variety of issues. I won’t get into everything but I will point out two major suits. They were the ones who started the anti-dumping law-suits against R-134a a few years ago. They were also the ones who filed suit against Honeywell and Chemours claiming that they were exhibiting anti-competitive behavior on their 1234YF product.

The Patent

We all knew that the timeline for HFC refrigerants was short lived due to their Global Warming Potential. We all knew that alternative refrigerants were being developed even before R-410A was being rolled out across the country. What I did not know until writing this article was that Honeywell patented their new HFO refrigerant that they developed in co-operation with DuPont/Chemours. Yes, that’s right. They patented HFO-1234YF and their other classes of HFO refrigerants. The patent details can be ready by clicking here.

What does that mean? Well folks, I am by no means an expert here when it comes to patent law but from what I can gather from the sources that I have read and gathered (Source list at bottom of the article.) is that only Honeywell or Chemours can manufacture HFO-1234YF. So, this new refrigerant that will be used all across the European Union next year and potentially throughout the United States in 2021 will be held in the hands of only two companies: Honeywell and Chemours. Fast forward five or ten years and it will be at the point that whenever an automobile develops a leak and needs more refrigerant it will be bought from either Chemours or Honeywell. Now that just doesn’t seem right now does it?

For those of you who haven’t bought 1234YF yet you will be in for a shock when you see the price. Right now it’s running around seven-hundred dollars for a ten pound cylinder. Heck, you can get a thirty-pound cylinder of R-22 for less. Maybe even a rusted cylinder of R-12. It makes you wonder. Is the cost this high due to the innovation and the hours spent in the lab creating this new class of refrigerant or is it an effort to keep profits up in between these two companies?

To top it all off Honeywell and Chemours are building each their own separate HFO-1234YF plants in the southern United States. Honeywell actually just opened their three-hundred million dollar plant in Geismar, Louisana. One state over in Texas the Chemours company broke ground in February of this year on their two-hundred and thirty million dollar plant. The Chemours facility is expected to go live at the end of 2018, although this may be delayed due to the hurricane Texas just went through. At least they are keeping their plants here in the States.

Arkema

While Mexichem was battling it out in the courts trying to get anti-dumping duties placed on R-134a Chinese imports Arkema was fighting Honeywell and Chemours on their patent and manufacturing rights of 1234YF. They originally filed suit with the European Commission stating that Honeywell has unfairly limited supplies and manufacturing of the refrigerant.

There isn’t a lot of news on this but this snippet I found is from October of 2014. I wanted to quote it to provide you with some context, “The European Commission announced Tuesday that it believes Honeywell International Inc. and E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. may have violated antitrust rules by allegedly limiting the production and development of a new environmentally friendly refrigerant used in car air-conditioning systems.” – Source.

Now I am not sure what happened to this initial feeling but I can tell you that nothing came of this. There was never an official ruling and the investigation is still ongoing but I believe it has stalled and nothing will come from it.

In June of this year Arkema filed another suit with the European Commission over Honeywell not allowing them to produce and manufacture 1234YF refrigerant. Arkema accused Honeywell of dominating the HFO-1234yf market and preventing fair competition. Since this suit was just filed there has been little news on the outcome or even rumors on what will happen.

Conclusion

Honeywell has invested nearly one-billion dollars into research, planning, constructing, and manufacturing 1234YF. Their plan, along with Chemours, is to dominate the market of automobile refrigerant in the European Union and soon in the United States. It seems that governments in the European Union and even here in the US have turned a blind eye towards this ever growing monopoly between these two companies. They are not concerned as the end game here is to stop Global Warming and to reduce the Global Warming Potential of automobile refrigerants. If it comes at the cost of having an even bigger conglomerate then so be it as long as Global Warming is slowed down. Take that as you will.

Like it or not 1234YF is the future for automobile refrigerants across the world. It has already been deemed so. The question is will there be enough competition to keep prices low or will auto shops be paying an arm and a leg just to get a few pounds of 1234? I can’t even imagine what the markup would be to the customer!

Remember folks, all Arkema wants to do is produce the refrigerant themselves but they cannot due to the constraints of the patent and Honeywell’s licensing. It’s that simple. Will the EU rule in favor? We will see. We will see.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson
RefrigerantHQ

 

Sources

Well folks one of the big dogs in the refrigerated transport market, Carrier Transicold, has begun offering R-452A as an alternative refrigerant for their trucks here in America. Most everyone already saw this coming due to their competition, Thermo King, had already begun switching their trucks over to 452A as well. For those of you who do not know these two companies are the kings when it comes to refrigerated transport. When they decide to make a change then the whole industry will change with them.

Both Carrier and Thermo King had been offering R-452A as an alternative in the European Union since 2015, and now that choice is available here in the United States. Notice how I said choice. As of today there are no regulations or planned phase outs of R-404A in the transportation market. 404A is being phased out in other applications such as super market freezers and vending machines but there is not an announced plan to phase it out yet on refrigerated trucks yet…

All that being said it is only a matter of time before EPA regulations work their way towards phasing out 404A for the Carrier market. If you’re going to be purchasing a new unit then I would recommend going with the 452A option. It may be more expensive then what you are used to today but it is an investment for the future and may end up saving you money down the road.

What is R-452A?

R-452A is one of the newer HFO refrigerants. HFO stands for HydroFluroOlefin. These refrigerants are rather new to the market and have started to become more popular due to the benefits they offer when comparing them to the common place CFC,HCFC, and HFC refrigerants.  Even today new HFO refrigerants are being developed in the labs at Honeywell and Chemours.

R-452A, or Chemour’s Opteon XP44, is designed to be as a drop-in replacement for R-404A or R-507. The compressor discharge temperature and the flow rate are a near match to 404A/507. That means that you don’t have to the trouble of retrofitting. This is a much easier transition then the whole R-22 to R-410A fiasco. (Please note that before attempting to drop in the 452A refrigerant to call Carrier or Thermo King to ensure that your model doesn’t need component retrofits or software updates. Better to be safe then sorry.)

452A has a zero O-Zone depletion potential. There is no Chlorine involved so there is no risk there. On top of that the 452A has nearly half the Global Warming Potential of 404A. 404 has a GWP of 3,922 times the amount of Carbon Dioxide while the new 452A comes in at 2,141. Obviously, this isn’t the perfect solution and we still have a long ways to go but having the ability to cut the GWP in half on all transport, supermarkets, and vending machines is huge. The bad thing about this is that when the new HFO refrigerant comes out with a GWP of under 1,000 we will have to go through this whole process yet again.

Where Can I Buy R-452A or XP44?

At this time R-452A isn’t too popular yet and because of that it makes it hard to find. If you have direct contact with The Chemours company then I would reach out to them but you may have to buy a few cylinders instead of just one at a time. However, if you are like most of us and don’t have contracts established with the refrigerant manufacturers then you will have to go through a refrigerant distributor or by contacting Thermo King or Carrier Transicold directly.

If you are still having trouble finding a source let me know by following this link and filling out the purchase form. I will look around and reach out to some of my distributors to see if I can get you a source.

Conclusion

Rather you like it or not HFO refrigerants, like the 452A, are going to be the refrigerants of the future. With each year the slow creep and phase out of HFC refrigerants advances and as the HFCs start to fade away the new HFO refrigerants are beginning to take the lime light. As I write this today there are alternatives to R-134a that are becoming more and more popular with US automobile manufacturers. An alternative to R-410A is still being developed but it is only a matter of time before we go through the massive switch again.

If you’re a tech who ends up working quite a bit on supermarket freezers, vending machines, or even a mechanic who will be sticking his hands in on the Carrier/Themo units then I would recommend getting familiar with R-452A and what to expect. For more information on XP44/R-452A check out some of my source links below.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Sources

Honeywell Refrigerants

The race is on to find suitable alternatives to R-404A. In 2009 the Honeywell corporation invented a new refrigerant called Genetron Performax. (R-407F) This new refrigerant is an HFC blend containing forty percent of R-134a, thirty percent of R-125, and thirty percent of R-32. The thinking behind this refrigerant was to come up with a viable alternative to the currently used R-404A  in supermarkets and grocers that would be more friendly to the environment.

R-404A has one of the highest Global Warming Potentials in all of the refrigerants on the market today standing at 3,922 GWP. (Source from Linde-Gas.com) To give you some perspective the GWP of R-134a is only 1,430. Just by looking at the numbers here you can see why there is a large concern over the damage that 404A is causing to the environment and the impact that it is having on Global Warming. This is the main reason that when we hear about the phasing out of HFC refrigerants R-404A is the first one targeted. (The phase out began in the United States last year.)

This new refrigerant designed by Honeywell, R-407F, has a GWP of 1,824. That is over a fifty percent decrease in GWP from 404A. While the 1,824 is still very high for a refrigerant it is significantly better than what we had been using. Imagine if everyone converted over to this new refrigerant. The impact on the environment from supermarket freezers and refrigerated transport would be cut in half.

Along with having the lower GWP than 404A the R-407F is an A1 rated refrigerant. That means low toxicity and that it is non flammable. This is a big deal as a common occurrence with alternatives to HFCs is higher flammability ratings. A few more benefits to this refrigerant are that it is an efficient R-22 retrofit option, lower discharge temperature than R-22, similar cooling capacity to R-404A, uses the same oil as 404A, and has around a ten percent energy savings when comparing to existing 404A systems. (Source on these claims is from Linde-Gas.com)

15,000th Store

At the close of 2016 Honeywell celebrated reaching their 15,000th store being converted over to R-407F. That is quite the achievement. Honeywell predicts that over the course of 2016 they saved over ten million metric tons of Carbon Dioxide equivalent. That is equal to eliminating five million cars off of the road.

Most of these retrofitted units were implemented in the Asia Pacific region and in the European Union. The ASDA supermarket chain in the United Kingdom reported that they consumed fourteen percent less energy on the systems using R-407F when comparing it to R-404A.

Along with the added efficiency these stores and business will be in compliance with the European Union’s F-Gas regulation from 2015. The EU regulation can be found by clicking here, but the main goal is to reduce the EU’s HFC usage by 1/4 of 2014 levels by the year 2030.

Conclusion

R-407F is an HFC refrigerant and as I mentioned above HFC’s will be going away. Honeywell does offer a lower GWP under their new Solstice Hydrofluoroolefins refrigerant line. This refrigerant is called N40 or R-448A. R-448A has a GWP of 1,273 which is sixty-eight percent lower than 404A. This HFO refrigerant is also rated as an A1 by the ASHRAE classification. That means low toxicity and low flammability. The downside to alternative HFO refrigerants is the price. Hopefully, as time goes on the price will eventually lower to be closer to HFCs.

As the years pass by we will begin to see more HFO’s, like the R-448A that I mentioned above, come into the marketplace. While HFC’s are going away the push is on to shrink the GWP of refrigerants as much and as quickly as possible. Even though R-407F will most likely be replaced by an HFO refrigerant in the near future Honeywell is still seeing outstanding success in converting systems over to their 407F. It’s better to start converting now and save some carbon than wait until the ‘perfect’ refrigerant comes along.

I predict that in the next few years we will see the push to switch to the lower GWP HFC alternatives increase and during that increase we will slowly transition over and away from HFCs to the newly developed HFO refrigerants that have even lower GWP.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed the article please take the time to subscribe to our newsletter by filling out your e-mail in the top right of the page. Thanks again,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Sources

Alternatives to R-410A?

Rather you like it or not folks R-410A will be going away and it’s going to be happening a lot sooner than everyone thinks. In 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they will beginning the initial steps of phasing out R-404A in July of 2016, January 2017, and 2018. Along with that they also announced that the tried and tested R-134a will begin being phased out in the year 2020. (2021 model years.) HFCs are quickly coming to an end.

On top of the EPA’s actions on phasing out HFC refrigerants there was an amendment added to the Montreal Protocol only a few months ago in November of 2016. More than one-hundred countries met in Kigali, Rwanda. The United States, the European Union, and many other countries have been working tirelessly on getting an HFC phase out amendment added to the Montreal Protocol for years. Well the last holds out finally gave in and everyone’s dreams finally came true in late 2016. The goal of the agreement was to ban all HFC refrigerants across the world by the year 2100. The United States along with all of the other countries happily signed the agreement.

Under the signed amendment developed countries, including the United States, must reduce their use of HFC refrigerants by ten percent by 2019 from 2011-2013 levels, and then by eighty-five percent by 2036. Along with this developed countries will also have to comply with a freeze of HFC consumption levels in the year 2024. By the late 2040’s all developed countries are expected to consume no more than fifteen to twenty percent of their baselines. In order to meet these guidelines developed countries have already begun phasing out the other HFCs as we discussed above. 410A is not on the chopping block yet but it will be soon.

Everything, and I mean everything, is pointing in the direction that 410A will be no more. The only thing that I could see stopping the phase out of 410A in the near future is the presidency of Donald Trump. Now, keep in mind that this is all speculation, but Trump has said before that he doesn’t believe in Climate Change. So, if you don’t believe in something than why would your country pledge and sign a treaty saying that you would phase something out because of Climate Change? It doesn’t make sense. No one knows what Trump will do though. He may leave things the way they are or he may go back and try to renege on the treaty.

The Four Rules

The race to find an alternative refrigerant for R-410A is on. After all, 410A has to be one of the greatest used, if not the greatest, refrigerant in the world. Everyone needs a cool house and most of the time they’re either using R-22 or R-410A. Finding an alternative has proven difficult though as there has been no perfect match so far. There are four considerations companies have to consider before they can sign off on a golden ticket replacement product. These four ‘rules’ or considerations are Environment, Energy Efficiency, Safety, and Economy.

  1. If we look at the first criteria of environment we have to consider two things. One being that the new product can’t contain Chlorine like the old CFCs and HCFCs of the past. We don’t want a repeat of the O-Zone damage that we went through the eighties and nineties. The second being that the replacement cannot have a large Global Warming Potential like the HFC refrigerants used today. The whole point is to have a refrigerant that does NOT damage the environment, or at least, does not damage the environment as much as the current HFCs do.
  2. Energy Efficiency pretty much explains itself. Obviously we do not want have a gas that would be used across the world that is terribly inefficient. What good would it do to if we’re just wasting energy and impacting the environment in another way? The whole robbing Peter to pay Paul mentality. It doesn’t make sense.
  3.  Safety is another consideration that has to be factored in when finding the ‘perfect’ refrigerant. One of the major risks here is flammability. Each refrigerant has a flammability rating and some are much higher than others. If you have proper training on dealing with flammable refrigerants than there is nothing to worry about. The danger comes in if the R-410A replacement is highly flammable. Commercial units are usually left alone. Only professionals ever attempt to maintenance them. With a home unit you run the risk of having novices or ‘Bubbas,’ trying to maintenance or even install their own machine. Imagine the risk they could be taking if the refrigerant they were dealing with was extremely flammable? (Like R-290.) The other aspect of safety is the toxicity levels of the refrigerant. If you have a leak and it is in a confined area what effect will that have on the people in that area? Will there be permanent damage to them after breathing it, or even death?
  4. Economy is the last and final aspect when looking for an alternative. What good is an alternative if no one can afford it? If a ten pound cylinder is north of $1,000 how is anyone going to be able to afford it? Cost is a large factor when considering an alternative. Truth be told I believe we’re seeing the cost problem now with the 134a replacement. The HFO 1234YF is nearly $700 for a ten pound cylinder. Imagine the cost involved if you had to refill your car after a repair? It’s quite the difference between the $100 cost of a thirty pound cylinder of 134a.

Ok, so with those four considerations in mind let’s review the possibilities of the future for replacing R-410A.

Hydroflurocarbons (HFC’s)

Yes, yes I know. R-410A is an HFC so why would we replace it with another HFC? Well, there is a push to change from 410A over to R-32 refrigerant. The thinking is that this wouldn’t be a permanent solution but more of a temporary until something better comes along. R-410A’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) is 1,725 times that of Carbon Dioxide. This large number is why 410A is being pressured to be phased out. While R-32 is an HFC it’s GWP is only 675. That is about a sixty percent decrease. It’s not a perfect bullet but it would help with the battle against Global Warming.

There are a few benefits to R-32 one of which I mentioned above. The first being the lower Global Warming Potential. The second benefit is that consumers will see a ten percent reduction in their energy usage when switching to R-32. Another pro for R-32 is the cost. It is overall much cheaper than R-410A and is readily available to purchase now. R-32 has seen wide usage across Australia and in July of 2015 was approved for limited usage by the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency. (Visit link to their website here.)

Ok, so we have see the pros of HFC-32 now let’s take a look at some of the downsides.  R-410A is classified as ‘Non-Flammable,’ according to the Safety Data Sheets. The flammability rating on 410A is ruled as class 1. When looking at the same data for R-32 we find that it is ‘Extremely Flammable,’ and is classified under a level 4 for flammability. Both of these come from each products Safety Data Sheets which can be found by clicking here for R-410A and here for R-32. And to think people were freaking out about the flammability of 410A a few years ago!

Another downside to R-32 that companies have complained about is the toxicity of breathing in the product. Proponents have rebutted saying that R-32 is no more toxic than any other refrigerant when breathed in. Which I believe is a perfectly valid point. The last downside and one that is extremely difficult to prove is that R-32 causes cancer. There has been no conclusive tests on this theory and so far it is speculation. The belief is that this rumor started in California due to their strict environmental laws.

So, in review on R-32 we have a cheaper alternative refrigerant to R-410A and one that has nearly sixty percent reduction in Global Warming Potential. But, this replacement product is extremely flammable and may put people at risk. In my opinion I do not believe this refrigerant meets the four conditions to be accepted as an acceptable substitute. (Safety comes to mind.) If we do start using HFC -32 here in the United States than I could see it being only temporary until a better HFO refrigerant comes along. I wouldn’t put money on seeing this at your next service call.

Sources on R-32:

Hydrocarbons?

Hydrocarbons are a different story. They have been around a lot longer than the HFOs and even HFCs. Everyone is at least somewhat familiar with them and even a laymen has heard of most of them. (Propane, Isobutane, Carbon Dioxide.) Some of these refrigerants go all the way back to the nineteenth century if you can believe it. Before the rise of CFCs such as R-12 Hydrocarbons were widely used in various establishments. One of the first air conditioned movie theaters in the early twentieth century was cooled by Carbon Dioxide.

Alright, that’s enough of a history lesson. Let’s dive in and take a look at the possible scenario on each one:

R-290 (Propane)

Alright so let’s get the selling point of R-290 out of the way now. Propane has zero O-Zone depletion potential and only a GWP of only 3. Yes, that’s right. 3. Humongous difference when comparing to 410A’s GWP of 1,725.  Right out of the gate R-290 meets the environmental criteria for an alternative. Overall it is rather energy efficient and the cost is relatively cheap coming in at right about the same cost as a thirty pound cylinder of R-410A. (A little over one hundred dollars a cylinder.) We’re three for four on propane passing the feasibility test. There is just that last one. That one that we overlooked, safety.

The disadvantages are the flammability risk, safety standards/codes, and ensuring each technician is properly trained before handling. If propane is handled in the right way and by a properly trained technician than everything will be fine. However, if ‘Bubba,’ tries to install his own unit or retrofit his own machine with propane that is where things get dangerous. A common occurrence over the years since R-22 has grown more expensive is for companies to market their R-290 product as a drop in replacement for their R-22 units. This is a dangerous practice since the R-22 machines were not meant to use propane. The end result can result in injury or an explosion.

R-290 is already seeing widespread use in India and China and now the middle eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others are expressing interest for R-290 due to it’s better performance in higher ambient temperature environments. The Environmental Protection Agency has approved R-290 for use in stand alone small charge units including retail food refrigerators and freezers. All that being said though I do not foresee seeing R-290 being widely used as a replacement for R-410A.

R-290 Sources

R-744 (Carbon Dioxide)

R-744 has no harmful environmental effects. I mean, there is nothing more natural than Carbon Dioxide. There is no O-Zone depletion potential and the Global Warming Potential is minimal. In fact as I mentioned earlier R-744 was one of the very first refrigerants used in the world only losing popularity once the easier to use R-12 was introduced.

R-744 requires very low energy to run, is non-toxic, and non flammable. The problem that comes with R-744 is not the dangers of flammability like that of R-290 but instead with economy. R-744 runs at an extremely high pressure during operation. The pressure is so high that the efficiency of the compressor suffers greatly and the durability and thickness of the pipes needs to be increased to compensate. The thickened pipes and the custom high pressure equipment increases the overall cost of R-744 for most uses.  Some could also make the argument that Carbon Dioxide refrigerant due to it’s increased pressure of 2,000 pounds per square inch also makes it dangerous to work on. That’s a tally of two out of four.

While R-744 is seeing usage in other smaller applications like that of refrigerated cases I do not foresee it being used as an alternative to R-410A due to the additional cost of the higher pressure equipment and the potential safety risk of the high pressure.

R-744 Sources

R-717 (Ammonia)

Ammonia or R-717 is often regarded as the most efficient refrigerant gas on the market today. Along with it’s energy efficiency aspect it also has no O-Zone depletion potential and has a Global Warming Potential of zero. The cost for R-717 is much lower than other HFC refrigerants on the market today creating a cost savings if someone was to switch over to R-717.

If we refer to the four rules again that I stated above we are three for four so far. The fourth rule, and honestly one of the most important, is safety. R-717 is not the safest refrigerant… by any means and it is one of the reasons why it is not commonly used in today’s residential market.

Like R-290 R-717 is highly flammable. Don’t let me say it though, let’s take a look at the exact wording on the safety data sheet on R-717: “Flammable. Toxic by inhalation. Causes burns. Risk of serious damage to eyes. Very toxic to aquatic organisms.” – Source. So we have a highly flammable product that has high toxicity and can cause damage to your skin and eyes. I can see why this hasn’t taken off.

While R-717 does have the safety detriments it is still widely used today in many types of manufacturing plants such as dairies, ice cream plants, frozen food production, cold storage warehouses, and meat processing plants.  I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. This potentially hazardous material works because it is being used in a large commercial setting. The Jo Schmo do-it-yourselfer is never going to tamper or try to fix one of these commercial machines. If something goes wrong at one of these businesses they call in a professional. If R-717 becomes a mainstream refrigerant found in every home in the country than the risk of do-it-yourselfers accidentally burning themselves or worse causing an explosion goes up exponentially. For that reason alone I do not foresee R-717 being used as a suitable R-410A replacement.

R-717 Sources

Hydrofluoroolefin (HFO’s)

HFO’s are already seeing large usage in the European Union and now beginning in the United States. Most of the applications have been under the HFO 1234YF used in automobile applications. As of January 1st, 2017 cars can no longer be manufactured with R-134a systems in the EU. The United States isn’t too far off either with our final date being 2020. (2021 model year.) 1234YF is quickly replacing the R-134a market that we know today. To some it’s 1994 all over again where we phased out the R-12 in place of R-134a.

The selling point on the new  HFO’s are the environmental impact. The goal here was to create something as similar as they could to the current HFCs on the market but without the high Global Warming Potential that comes with them. For example, the 1234YF refrigerant has a global warming potential of four. For comparison, the Global Warming Potential of R-134a is over 3,000. There is a significant difference and the climate will be greatly affected if the whole world switches over to these new HFO refrigerants. (Or Hydrocarbons.)

The problem with HFOs is that they are all in developmental stage. The two conglomerate companies DuPont/Chemours and Honeywell have been putting endless hours and money into developing new HFO refrigerants that could take the place of the beloved R-410A. The other complication with HFO’s is that since they are being invented by only a few companies these same companies hold the patents on the new product. This creates an almost monopoly type setting where Honeywell and Chemours can set whatever price they want on their new Opteon and Solstice brands. Now, I’m not attacking these companies for having a high priced product. There is cost involved and I am sure it is quite high to create these new refrigerants. The reason I bring it up is for you the consumer or the business owner to realize just how expensive these refrigerants are. For example, a ten pound cylinder of the HFO 1234YF goes for about $700. For comparison a thirty pound cylinder of R-134a goes for about $120.

While there are MANY HFO refrigerants under development and available today I am only going to be looking at the possible 410A alternatives. With the introduction out of the way let’s dive into the various HFO refrigerants available today:

Opteon DR-55 (R-452B)

R-452B passed the flammability and toxicology review required by the ANSI/ASHRAE in March of 2016. Upon it’s approval it was given a preliminary ASHRAE number of R-452B. While this new alternative refrigerant from Chemours still has a somewhat high Global Warming Potential of 676 it is still sixty-five percent lower than it’s R-410A counterpart. It also comes with a lower flammability rating than other proposed R-410A solutions. (R-290 for example.)

Along with it being friendlier to the environment  and safe to use R-452B matches the capacity of R-410A allowing it to be compatible with currently used R-410A equipment. This allows for a quick and easy change of refrigerants on existing 410A units in the field.

While this refrigerant is still in the preliminary stages I could definitely see this becoming mainstream once it goes to market. It has right around the same GWP of R-32 but comes with a lower flammability rating. My only concern on this new refrigerant from Chemours is the cost. How much is this going to cost per cylinder when it rolls out this year or next? HFO’s are notoriously known for their high cost. Let’s hope that this new refrigerant doesn’t fall into that same category.

R-452B Sources

Opteon XL41 (R-454B)

R-454B is another new HFO refrigerant that was developed by the Chemour’s company. This refrigerant has the lowest GWP of all of the drop in R-410A replacements out there today. It comes in at a GWP of 466, that is seventy-eight percent lower than 410A. The formula on the refrigerant itself is a very close match to 410A and has been proved to be higher performing than 410A in some instances.

The downside of this new refrigerant is it’s mildly flammable status. While flammable refrigerants are perfectly safe when used in the right hands they can be extremely dangerous in the hands of a novice. Even though this refrigerant is in fact the lowest GWP alternative out there today I do not foresee it becoming a mainstream alternative to 410A simply because of it’s flammability rating. The chances of a homeowner hurting themselves is just too great.

R-454B Sources

SOLSTICE REFRIGERANTS?

I spent some time digging through Google and Honeywell’s website looking for mentions of a feasible R-410A alternative. The best that I found was a press release from 2013, four years ago, saying that they were working on a new 410A alternative. I haven’t been able to find much more news on these refrigerants. When I reviewed their website, which can be found by clicking here, I found four new Solstice HFO alternatives… but they were not for R-410A. Instead they were for R-134a, R-404A, and R-22.

I may be mistaken here and missed the boat on finding their alternatives to R-410A. If I have please let me know by sending me an e-mail and I’ll update this article. (Follow this link and scroll to the bottom to send me an e-mail.)

What’s Winning?

At this point it is hard to say but if I was to put my money down I would be betting on two refrigerants. Over the next few years we are either going to see a push for the Hydrocarbon R-32 or the new Opteon DR-55 (R-452B). As I said before I have a feeling that the cost of the new R-452B will be quite a bit higher than what we are used to today. The consideration that has to be made is the lower cost of R-32 when compared to R-452B worth the risk of extra flammability? Is it worth saving money but having that risk of flammability?

Conclusion

Even though the R-32 and the R-452B refrigerants may be the new normal when it comes to home air-conditioning it is important to realize that they will not last. They are good viable alternatives to the R-410A used today but they are not perfect. They still have a somewhat higher Global Warming Potential. R-32 is too flammable for some people’s taste. R-452B will most likely be to expensive for others. Who knows what the next alternative will be?

There’s no telling what the final answer will be at this point in time. The only certainty is that everything is fluid and the refrigerants that we are using today could change this year or next and that I’ll do my best to keep everyone informed! If you see anything that is incorrect or not factual please take the time to e-mail me by clicking here and I will correct as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed the article please take the time to subscribe to our mailing list by navigating to the top right of the page and registering your e-mail. Thanks again!

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Top 3 Refrigerant Changes in 2015

Hello ladies and gentlemen! It’s that time of year again. The cold wind is blowing, the snow is falling, and the temperature barely gets over twenty degrees across half of the nation. Instead of thinking about the cold I’m thinking about the summer. What will the heat be like next summer? How bad will it be here in Kansas City and how easily can I escape it with my precious air conditioning? (Last year we had nearly an entire month of hundred degree days.)

The refrigerant market is always changing and developing. It seems like every week there is something new and most of the time there is. As we close out 2016 and begin to look forward to the new year to come I find myself thinking about what upcoming changes we will see next year on refrigerant here in the United States. Here are, in my opinion, the three biggest change factors that we will see next year:

1 – Chinese Tariffs1

By now I’m sure you heard talk of tariffs on the importing of Chinese refrigerant. Over the past decade the Chinese have been importing larger and larger quantities of R-134a cylinders into the United State’s market. Just in 2015 China imported over 14,000 tons of refrigerant into the United States. (Source) Along with the Chinese flooding our marketplace with their product they are also bringing it in at a substantially lower cost than what our local manufacturers can get to.

Last year if you were to import a container of R-134a refrigerant cylinders into the United States you could pay somewhere between $40-$50 for a thirty pound cylinder. This was practically half the cost of what Chemours or Honeywell were selling at. There was plenty of margin to be made and I could see why importers brought it in by the ton. If I had the opportunity and the storage space I probably would have done it as well. The reason why the Chinese can get their price so low is due to the cheaper labor costs over there but also in big part because of their government subsidizing the industry and artificially lowering their manufacturing cost. This allowed them to go to market at that $40-$50 price and still make a hefty profit.

In order to combat the low priced Chinese product American companies began to file law-suits with the United State’s International Trade Commission. The law-suit was against China’s dumping of R-134a into the marketplace at an unfair value. The American companies lobbied for a tariff to be installed on all of Chinese 134a imports. The first suit was filed towards the end of 2013. Since then numerous suits have been filed and all have been denied by the Trade Commission. The latest suit filed by the HFC coalition, a grouping of American companies, was filed in March of 2016. Unlike the others this suit may actually end up going through.

In September 29th, 2016 the Trade Commission announced a preliminary ruling saying that they were in favor of installing tariffs on imported 134a product. The preliminary tariff percentage they announced was 137.23%. (188.94% on smaller Chinese companies.) This will take a $50 cylinder of 134a up to $118.62. Quite the difference. For more details on the rulings and what to expect click here for a previous article that I wrote.

2017

So, the question on everyone’s mind is what is going to happen in 2017. Well, there are two things for certain. In February the trade commission will announce their final tariff percentage on imported 134a product. Then a month later in March they will announce their final ruling. This is the big kahuna. This is the one that matters. While the other rulings are important this one in March is the yes or no on rather the tariffs will be instigated.

One solace to small business owners and technicians is that the expected price increase from the 134a tariffs has already hit. When the announcement came from the Trade Commission in September of the 137 percent increase the price on 134a skyrocketed to over a $100 a cylinder on bulk purchases. My prediction for 2017 is that if they rule in favor of the tariffs that the price on 134a will pretty much stay the same. However, if they rule against the tariffs than I could see the price of 134a plummet to high $50s per cylinder on a forty cylinder pallet.

Other HFCs as Well?

At this point everybody is expecting the tariffs to eventually get approved. After all, companies have been fighting for them for nearly four years now. Eventually, one of these times, they will get what they want. It’s just a matter of time. The thing to mention is that these suits have all been focused on 134a and not on 410A, 404A, or any other refrigerant.

Are there tariffs expected on these common HFC refrigerants as well? From everything that I have read and seen on the anti-dumping lawsuits I have seen no mention on R-410A or R-404A. At this point in time I believe that there haven’t been measures taken to impose the tariffs on these refrigerants. As far as what will happen in the future I can only guess. I believe that R-404A won’t be bothered with. It’s being phased out in just over a year anyways. To me the one to watch is 410A. This refrigerant is the defacto refrigerant now for home and commercial use. It’s a prime market for the Chinese to target and it’s a prime market for the American companies to fight back on.

Conclusion

In 2017 I see the tariffs on 134a being approved and instigated. Everything is pointing in that direction. For once in many years the price of 134a may actually be stable for a long period of time. If it doesn’t get approved get ready for a roller coaster of back and forth prices as the American companies compete with the Chinese imports.

2 – The Beginning of the End of HFCs

2

I’m sure most of you guys saw this coming. It was only a matter of time. The beloved HFCs that we have fallen in love with over the past few years are going away. In a meeting in Rwanda in October of this year over one-hundred and seventy countries agreed to and signed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This amendment titled The Kigali Agreement is strictly focused on phasing out all HFC refrigerants across the world by the year 2100. Since this was an amendment to an already existing treaty the Obama administration did not need to get approval by congress. Instead, all they had to do was sign. (I’m not too happy about that, but that’s another story and I’ll leave politics out of this.) I wrote a more in-depth article on the Kigali agreement that can be found by clicking here.

Why HFCs?

Some of you may be asking why HFCs? I thought CFCs and HCFCs were the bad ones. I thought Chlorine was the culprit. Well, yes… that’s true. Chlorine being vented into the atmosphere was the culprit in damaging and eventually tearing a hole into the O-Zone layer. It was because of this Chlorine in the atmosphere that the Montreal Protocol was designed and implemented. The Chlorine containing refrigerants had to be phased out. (R-12, R-22, R-502.) The Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987 and only a few years later R-12 was phased out, then in the late 1990’s R-502 said goodbye. Lastly, in the year 2010 we waved farewell to R-22. As we phased out all of these refrigerants we began to replace them all with the newer HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A.

How quickly we change our minds. Now that HFCs have been around for a while and have been implemented all across the globe scientists are beginning to realize the impact that they are having on the environment. While they do not contain Chlorine they do contain extremely potent greenhouse gases that when released into the atmosphere are sometimes 1,400 times stronger than Carbon Dioxide. Think about that number for a second. 1,400 times stronger. That is nothing to scoff at. Now think about all of the developing countries in the world who now have the money and business to support air conditioning units. The explosion of industry in India and China coupled with the amount of HFC refrigerants used around the globe made for a perfect storm. The rise of HFCs has correlated directly into the rise of Global Warming. Scientists and governments were determined to stop it.

Changes

Something had to be done across the globe and that is just what the Kigali Agreement was designed to do. In only a few years, in 2019, developed countries such as the United States are expected to cut all of their HFC consumption/production of HFC refrigerants by ten percent in comparison to 2011-2013 levels. By the year 2036 we are expected to cut HFC usage by eighty-five percent. These agreements are signed into international law and will have to be followed.

On top of all of those changes the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency has announced that they will be starting earlier on HFC refrigerants. Their first target is R-404A. As of January 1st, 2017 supermarket freezers and cold cases can no longer use R-404A on newly manufactured machines. (Source from Chemours.com.) Retrofitting is not allowed either. As of January 1st, 2019 vending machines can no longer use R-404A or R-134a. That’s not the big dog though. No, not even close. In the year 2020, or 2021 model year, it will no longer be acceptable for light duty vehicles to use R-134a. Instead most vehicle manufacturers will be switching over to the lower GWP HFO refrigerant known as 1234YF.

Conclusion

Like it or not this is the beginning of the end of HFC refrigerants. They had a good run of… fifteen to twenty years. It’s on to bigger and better things. It’s on to hydrocarbons. It’s on to natural refrigerants. It’s on HFOs. At least, it’s on to these refrigerants until we find something wrong with them and then the whole process will start all over again.

EPA Phases out HFC Refrigerants
EPA Phases out HFC Refrigerants

3 – The Testing and Pushing of Alternative Refrigerants

3

Obviously, if we phase out HFC refrigerants we need to find a replacement refrigerant that performs well, is cost consciousness, and does not harm the environment. Somehow, this narrows the list down to only a select few refrigerants. Over the past few years there has been a battle brewing between the newly innovated HFO refrigerants such as HoneyWell’s new Solstice brand name or DuPont/Chemours’ new Opteon brand name and natural refrigerants, also known as hydrocarbons.

As of now there is no clear winner in this battle. It really depends on where you look. Hydrocarbons are very popular in some parts of the world like Asia and at other points in the world they are practically unheard of. For example, it is rare to find a hydrocarbon application in the United States. It just never caught on here.

If I was to put money on what the majority of the market will look like in another five to ten years I would put everything on HFOs. My reasoning here is that you have to giant conglomerate corporations known as DuPont/Chemours and HoneyWell developing, innovating, and pushing their new HFO brands. These companies are monsters for a reason. Most of the time they get their way. On top of that there is just nothing sexy about hydrocarbons. HFOs are new. HFOs are exciting. New and exciting are what the people want.

Hydrocarbons/Natural Refrigerants

Hydrocarbon refrigerants have been around for a long time and I’m sure most of you recognize them right away. Some of the most commonly used hydrocarbon refrigerants are as follows:

  • R-290 – Propane
  • R-600a Isobutane
  • R-1270 Propylene
  • R-744 Carbon Dioxide

Hydrocarbons are just as efficient, if not more efficient, than HFC or HCFC refrigerants. They are extremely cheap as well when compared to the newly patented HFO refrigerants such as 1234YF. (1234YF goes for as much as $700 for a ten pound cylinder.) They also have an extremely low global warming potential so there is no risk to the environment when using them.

While all of this sounds good the downside of natural refrigerants are the high risk of flammability. I’m sure that you noticed that one of the refrigerants that I listed above is propane. (R-290) In my opinion it doesn’t get much more flammable than that. Just a few weeks ago there was a story about two men working on a hydrocarbon unit. They were not being careful and ended up causing an explosion that cost both their lives. (You can read the article by clicking here.) This unit contained a mixture of propane and isobutane.

This risk of explosion is what has turned people off from hydrocarbons. Even though they are perfectly safe if handled correctly and maintained correctly there is still that level of fear. People just aren’t comfortable using propane for their primary refrigerant. Think about it. Go up and ask someone on the street if they want to use propane for their air conditioning refrigerant. They’d look at you like you grew a second head.

HydroFluroOlefins (HFOs)

HFOs are still new. In fact they have only been around for about a decade. The most commonly used HFO today and the one that you most likely heard of is 1234YF. Both HoneyWell and Chemours have their own version of it. See below picture of HoneyWell’s Solstice cylinder:

1234YF Refrigerant & Refrigerant
HoneyWell’s Solstice 1234YF Private Brand

1234YF is the now the default refrigerant across the European Union and is used by all of the major European car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, and many others. It has also caught on with the Korean and Japanese car market showing up in Toyota and Honda models. Each year that passes we see more and more 1234YF usage across the world and in the United States’ market.

The 1234YF is accepted widely now. The question is what is next. What will replace R-404A? What will replace R-410A? These questions are still up for debate. There are many alternatives out there today and there are many more being developed. So far there is no perfect cross. There is no telling when that perfect solution arrives but I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up next year.

Conclusion

As I said above I believe in this battle between the HFOs and the Hydrocarbons that the HFOs will come up on top. They have the bank roll of the mega corporations and they have the appeal of something new. Hydrocarbons will always be here and be with us but at least in the United States I see them taking a back seat to the upcoming dominance of HFOs. All of us will be very familiar with the new Solstice and Opteon brands in the near future.

Conclusion

2017 is going to be an interesting year to say the least. There are all the things I mentioned above to consider and there is also a wildcard that I didn’t mention. That wildcard is Donald Trump. What affect will he have on the United State’s refrigerant industry? He has said again and again that he despises China for their trade war against us. Would that mean that he would put on additional tariffs on Chinese imported refrigerant? Could he raise the cost of R-134a even more?

On the other side of the coin he has said that he wants to get rid of as much regulation as he can and that he doesn’t believe in Climate Change. Could this mean that he will back out of the Kigali agreement? (If that’s even possible.) Could he delay some of the EPA’s actions on HFCs? As I said above, it’s a true wildcard. Time will only tell what will happen.

I hope you enjoyed the article and I hope that you are just as excited for the 2017 year that I am. I feel that this is going to be a big year for me and I hope it is for you too!

Thanks for reading and have a happy new year!

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Well ladies and gentlemen it’s that time of year again. The time of year when a cold wind blows, the temperature doesn’t rise above thirty degrees, and snow flurries fall from the sky. What better time than now than to talk about refrigerant? It’s the slowest point in the season and it seems that when things slow down everyone is able to take a step back and look at what the market is doing and will be doing in the upcoming months.

This post will go over what my pricing predictions are in 2017 on some of the most common refrigerants used today. I am by no means a fortune teller or clairvoyant so I ask that you take these predictions with a grain of salt. My theories are based off of what I have seen happen in 2016 and what I believe will happen in 2017.

For 2017 I see it as kind of a mixed bag. I see the high possibility of two wild cards on a couple refrigerants (R-134a & R-404A) and the others I see as barely changing a dime. Before we get started digging into each refrigerant let’s take a moment and consider the following things that will happen next year in the refrigeration industry:

Considerations

Donald Trump's Affect on the Refrigerant Industry
Donald Trump’s Affect on the Refrigerant Industry
  • Trump – It’s worth noting that next year we will be having a ‘Donald Trump’ effect on the market. Rather this is a good thing or a bad thing is to be determined. Trump has shown that he is against regulations, against the EPA and it’s enforcement of climate changing policies, and most of all he doesn’t believe in Climate Change. All of this bodes well for the price of refrigerant. He very well may get rid of some of the phase outs and extra regulations. However, the other side of the coin is that Trump is VERY anti-China. He is against their so called currency war. He is against their trade policies. He is against dumping of their imports into the United States market. He has also talked about imposing a thirty-five to forty-five percentage tariff on Chinese imports into the United States. This would have a significant impact on not only imported refrigerant but also on US manufactured product. (If I was a manufacturer in the US and saw all the import price rising I would raise my cost too and make some extra money.) I wrote more about what impact Trump will have in another article that can be found by clicking here.
  • Anti-Dumping Tariffs – On top of the ‘Trump Effect,’ we also have the lawsuit filed by the HFC coalition with the International Trade Commission. For those of you that have been paying attention for the past few years I’m sure you are very well aware of it. The claim is that China is importing their refrigerants into the United States market at dirt cheap prices. They can do this because of course labor is cheaper over there but also because the Chinese goverment subsidizes these companies with the unlimited coffers of the goverment treasury. So, when this imported product hits the United State’s market it comes in at a very low price. (Sometimes $40-50 a cylinder.) The initial lawsuit was filed on R-134a and on September 30th, 2016 the Trade Commission made a preliminary ruling in favor of imposing a tariff on imported R-134a from China. The agreed percent was 137.23 on the two main Chinese companies and 188.94% on other Chinese companies. The Trade Commission released a fact sheet on this that can be read by clicking here. 
  • Phase Outs – Along with the other two factors phase-outs is something veterans of the refrigeration industry had grown to hate. It seems that every few years another refrigerant is being pushed out and being replaced by something else. Instead of the goverment coming after the CFCs or HCFCS they are now coming after the friendly HFC refrigerant class. This includes your commonly used R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Don’t be surprised if you hear of an upcoming phase out of these in the next few months and also don’t be surprised if you see your price raise due to a recently announced phase-out.

Alright, so now that we got all of that out of the way let’s dive into it by looking at each of the common refrigerants out there today:

 R-22 HCFC

R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder
R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder

Phase-Out

Ok guys first thing’s first. If you haven’t switched your unit from R-22 and over to R-410A DO IT NOW! Your R-22 machine is at least seven to eight years old now and I’m betting that a lot of them are quite a bit older than that. On top of your machine being older it is also less inefficient than it’s HFC 410A counterpart. And finally, R-22 is extremely expensive due to the Montreal Protocol mandated phase out. Every year that passes less and less R-22 is allowed imported or produced in the United States and just like everything else the less supply there is the more demand there will be. According to the EPA’s website, which can be found by clicking here, the phase out schedule of R-22 is as follows:

Year to Be Implemented Implementation of HCFC Phaseout through Clean Air Act Regulations Year to Be Implemented Percent Reduction in HCFC Consumption and Production from Baseline
2003 No production or import of HCFC-141b 2004 35.0%
2010 No production or import of HCFC-142b and HCFC-22, except for use in equipment manufactured before January 1, 2010 2010 75.0%
2015 No production or import of any other HCFCs, except as refrigerants in equipment manufactured before January 1, 2020 2015 90.0%
2020 No production or import of HCFC-142b and HCFC-22 2020 99.5%
2030 No production or import of any HCFCs 2030 100.0%

Now, you may have noticed we’ve hit the majority of these dates already. Remember how I said your R-22 unit is getting old? As shown above no new machines from 2010 or greater can be manufactured with R-22. So, if you have an R-22 machine it is approaching or is already over ten years old. Worst of all, if your unit springs a leak and you run out of refrigerant you face paying a large sum of money just to replace your R-22.

Price

Let’s talk about price now. I’ve been writing my price per pound articles for the past three years now and each time I write one the price of R-22 keeps on climbing up. (My latest price per pound article can be found here.) In my 2015 article R-22 was retailing at about $300 per thirty pound cylinder. In my 2016 article R-22 was retailing at about $480.00 for a thirty pound cylinder. In my latest article that I wrote only a few days ago for the 2017 year R-22 is between $600-$700 for a thirty pound cylinder. That $300 price back from 2015 for a thirty pound cylinder will now only get you a ten pound cylinder for the same amount of money. (Example Amazon link.) It’s amazing at how fast the price can go up.

As you can see the price of R-22 is continuing to climb. The past two years it has gone up thirty percent consistently. My prediction for the 2017 year is more of the same. Let’s call the current price $650.00 for a thirty pound cylinder. That’s a happy medium between the $600-$700 that I’ve been seeing. If we do the below math we will get the number of $928.00.

$650.00 / (1-.30) = $928.00 for a thirty pound cylinder.

So there you have it folks. Next year’s predicted price for a thirty pound cylinder of R-22 is set at $928.00. If you are looking to buy some I would suggest to buy it now before the price climbs any higher. However, if you are on the other side of the coin and you have some inventory that you are sitting on I would hold onto it and watch the value climb and climb. I’ve even heard of some people buying whole pallets a few years back and storing it away in their warehouse for a few years. Imagine the profit if you bought forty cylinders at $300 and then turned around and sold them at $900 a few years later.

$300 * 40 = $12,000 cost

$900 * 40 = $36,000 cost.

Profit of:      $24,000

Not too bad of a deal if you ask me! If you are interested in purchasing R-22 please visit our product page. Also, if you are interested in purchasing pallet quantities please visit our bulk purchasing page. Lastly, please be aware that you need to be certified with the EPA in order to purchase or handle R-22.

R-410A HFC

R-410A Refrigerant 25 Lb Cylinder
R-410A Refrigerant 25 Lb Cylinder

Potential Phase Out

Along with R-134a I would say R-410A is one of the most popular refrigerants on the market today. Nearly every home or commercial air conditioning unit is using or will be using R-410A for their refrigerant. It became the default refrigerant back in 2010 when it replaced the HCFC R-22 as I talked about in the R-22 section.

Now that we went through all of the work of replacing R-22 with the 410A HFC there is now talk about replacing 410A. Can they make up their minds? Even though 410A does not contain Chlorine like it’s predecessor it has been found that HFC refrigerants have a very high Global Warming Potential (GWP). 410A has a GWP of 1,725 times the effect of carbon dioxide. Basically, 410A emits Greenhouse Gases that get trapped in the atmosphere and warm the planet. Now imagine the impact that it could have if every air conditioner in the world begins using R-410A. Startling, huh? So, now the race is on to find an alternative to 410A.

So far there is no end all be all for a 410A replacement. Honeywell, Chemours, and other companies are hard at work as we speak seeking out the best alternative refrigerant with the lowest GWP. Some of the contenders are:

  •  R-32 – This has a GWP of 675, not the best but better than what we have now. I wrote an article about this one last year that can be found by clicking here.
  • Natural Refrigerants such as R-290 and CO2 – So far these have not shown to be a cost effective solution but their GWP is VERY low. (Source article.)
  • DR-55 – A Chemours refrigerant pending approval as R-452B. Blend of R32, R1234yf and R125. GWP of 698. (Source)
  • L41z – A Honeywell refrigerant pending approval as R447B. Blend of R32, R125 and R1234ze(E). GWP of 740. (Source)
  • ARM-71a – An Arkema development refrigerant with a GWP of 460. (Source)

There is no set date on when R-410A will be phased out but I foresee it as only a matter of time. Once a standard replacement has been found than the phase out will begin. This could be next year or five years down the road. It’s difficult to tell.

Price

When 410A started to become popular the price was about on par with the price of R-134a. In 2014-2015 the price hovered between $75 and $80 for a twenty-five pound cylinder. Over the past few years it has climbed about fifteen to twenty percent each year. Today the price is hovering around $130 for a retail customer. (If you purchase more than one cylinder or go in for a pallet of 410A you will save money per cylinder as well.)

Even though the price has climbed over the past few years I honestly don’t see 410A changing much in 2017. The phase out won’t be happening for a while. They haven’t even decided on a replacement product yet and when they do decide the phase out will be a staggered approach just like all of the others. If they decide on a standard replacement product in 2017 the phase out of 410A may not even start until 2022 or 2023. So, with that in mind I predict that the price of 410A in 2017 will stay relatively flat at between $130-$150 retail. Bulk purchasing may get you lower but even then you’re still looking at being in the hundreds, maybe in the high nineties if you’re lucky.

Another thing to mention on 410A is that in 2017 you do NOT need to be certified with the EPA to purchase. If you wanted you could go to Amazon.com or E-Bay.com today and purchase yourself some 410A with no regulations required. However, starting on January 1st, 2018 you will be required to be certified before purchasing or handling any HFC refrigerants including 410A, 134a, 404A, and others. (Source from EPA’s website.)

Lastly, if you are looking to purchase 410A by the cylinder I recommend Amazon.com today or E-Bay.com. If you are looking for a bulk purchase of forty cylinders or more visit our bulk purchasing page and we’ll see what we can do for you!

R-134a HFC

R-134A 30 Pound Cylinder Refrigerant
R-134A 30 Pound Cylinder

Phase-Out?

Remember those wildcards I mentioned at the beginning of my post? Well 134a is one of them. (If you haven’t noticed already by watching the market.) It was announced in the summer of 2015 that R-134a would be joining alongside R-404A in the slow phaseout of applications. The case on R-134a wasn’t  nearly as drastic as it was for R-404A. The phase-out of 404A has already begun where with R-134a we still have a few good years left. (2020 is the main year for vehicles.)

R-134a days are numbered rather you like it or not. More and more newer model cars are opting for the HFO 1234YF made by Honeywell and Chemours. The Global Warming Potential of 1234YF is significantly less than R-134a and it is being pushed heavily by the United States’ Government as well as many other nation states including the European Union. Give it a few more years and 134a will be the exception instead of the rule.

The Anti-Dumping Tariff

Alrighty, ladies and gentlemen. Here were are. The tariff. You may have noticed that the price of R-134a went from about $70 a cylinder this summer all the way up to an average of $110 a cylinder over the fall and winter. This jump in price is in direct correlation to the ruling by the International Trade Commission on a anti-dumping tariff on R-134a imports from China. As I said in the beginning of this post they ruled in favor of imposing a tariff on September 30th, 2016. While this ruling is still preliminary and the final ruling won’t happen until March of 2017 the market still freaked out. (Click here for the Trade Commission’s fact sheet on the ruling.)

The standard price of $70 flew up overnight with the announcement of a proposed 137.23% tariff on all imported Chinese product. (188.94% on smaller Chinese refrigerant companies.) Can you imagine taking a 137% increase in cost for your business? I certainty can’t. This ruling is a double edged sword. If the HFC Coalition gets their way Chinese imports price will sky rocket. This will create a chasm in the market and cause every price on 134a to climb along with the imports… just like it did this fall. You, me, and everyone else will end up paying more for their refrigerant. On the other side is the preservation of American jobs and American manufacturing. We can be competitive again. We can actually buy American made product. Sounds nice huh? Do you want to pay more and save jobs… or do you want to pay those low prices and maybe put your neighbor out of work?

R-134a Tariff Schedule
R-134a Tariff Schedule

Pricing

Alright, so enough about all that other stuff. Let’s get to the reason you came here. What is the price of R-134a going to do next year? Up until the ruling in September the retail price on cylinders was just shy $100.00 on Amazon and E-Bay. After the ruling the price only jumped to about $115. While this may not seem like a big jump I can assure you that on the wholesale side of things we saw our price jump from $80 a cylinder all the way up to over $100 a cylinder. I believe the product that we are seeing sell for $115 online are distributors sitting on old inventory. I do not see this price lasting for long.

As for what will happen in 2017 this is a tough one to call. I do not believe the impending phase out in a few years is going to effect the pricing at this time. My big concern is the ruling on the tariff in March. What will happen if they rule in favor? What will happen if they rule against? Here are my two predictions:

  • If the Trade Commission rules in favor I do not see the market adjusting much at all. I believe the adjustment already happened in early October when their preliminary announcement was made. (It jumped nearly thirty dollars a cylinder.) My prediction if they rule in favor is that wholesale prices will stay just a shy above $100 a cylinder. Retail prices will level out at about $130-$135 a cylinder.
  • If the Trade Commission rules against the tariff than I can see the price plummeting back down to where it was earlier this summer. My prediction would be that wholesale pricing will be in mid $70s and retail pricing will be in the high $90s. 

Lastly, if you want to purchase R-134a by the cylinder I would suggest visiting our Amazon and E-Bay partners. If you are looking for more than just a few cylinders please visit our bulk purchasing page and we will get you in contact with some of our distributors.

 

R-404A HFC

R-404a Refrigerant
R-404a Refrigerant

So-Called Phase-Out

This is the other wildcard of 2017. No one really knows what’s going to happen on the price of 404A as there are so many cards in play in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Starting in July 20th, 2016 the initial phase-out began. While the July date only imposed a ban on retrofitting existing machines over to 404A it was just the beginning. The next big date on 404A phase-out is January 1st, 2017… you know only a few weeks away. The order and the types of machines affected can be very confusing. Instead of trying to explain everything in text I figured it would be easier to review in a table or picture. I pulled these tables directly from Chemour’s website. All credit goes to them for compiling the data. (Click here for source.)

Chemours HFC Phaseout Schedule
Chemours HFC Phaseout Schedule
Chemour's HFC Phaseout Table
Chemour’s HFC Phaseout Table

As you can see from the above tables this is the beginning of the end for 404A. July 2016, January 2017, January 2018, and so on. The big thing to mention though is that 404A will no longer be accepted in these machines it is NOT at this point in time being phased out. Let me rephrase that: R-404A is not being phased out yet but it’s use in certain machines is. So, unlike R-22 where the applications were limited and the production/imports were phased out R-404A is not being phased out. It is just having it’s applications severely limited. Their strategy could very well be phasing out 404A by starvation. If there are no more legal applications what would we use R-404A for anyways? It’s a roundabout way of going about it but maybe this will be the new way to rid the world of HFC refrigerants.

Price

So, what are we looking at as far as price on R-404A next year? Well, before we look to the future let’s look at the past. In 2015 we were at about $90-95 for a twenty-four pound cylinder of R-404A.  The price went up slightly in July of 2015 when the EPA announced their intention to phase out R-404A starting in July of 2016. I believe almost everyone saw it coming anyways so it came as no surprise. After a few months the price leveled out and has remained fairly constant for the rest of 2015.

The price began to climb again in 2016. As shown in the above table the first phaseout was this July with the ban on retrofitting. In just a few weeks the next ban hits. As of right now the price online on Amazon and E-Bay are between $110 at the lowest and at $175 at the highest. It is honestly very difficult to say what’s going to happen next year.  The phase out of machines using R-404A inclines me to believe that the price will go up. But, on the other hand there is no official reduction in R-404A production, only the shrinkage of machines using it.

Because of the supply remaining the same but the demand slowly shrinking I predict R-404A to actually go down in price next year. My prediction is that we will see single cylinder price at the end of next year hovering right around $85-$90 a cylinder. We’ll see if I’m right!

If you’re interested in purchasing R-404A by the cylinder I advise you to check out our Amazon and E-Bay partners for the best deal.  If you’re looking at purchasing more than a few cylinders at a time please check out our Bulk Purchasing page and we will see what we can do for you.

1234YF HFO

1234YF Refrigerant & Refrigerant
HoneyWell’s Solstice 1234YF Private Brand

Background

1234YF is one of the highest priced refrigerants on the market today. A ten pound cylinder goes between $700 to $800 a cylinder. This is substantially higher than it’s HFC counter part R-134a. The reason this HFO is so high in price is due to the demand. At this point in time there just isn’t that much demand for it. Even as I write this towards the end of 2016 the majority of vehicles in the United States are still using the trustworthy HFC R-134a for their refrigeration systems.

While 1234YF is the minority today it won’t be for long. There is already a scheduled plan to phase out R-134a across the United States starting in 2020. (2021 model years on vehicles.) The phase out will be staggered like most of the other refrigerant phaseouts but the process will start in only three short years. Hard to believe 2020 is that close. On top of our phase out the European Union has already phased out R-134a entirely and has moved the majority of their new vehicles over to 1234YF or to other lower Global Warming Potential alternatives.

Price

Over the course of 2016 the price of 1234YF has fallen, albeit slowly. We started the year right around $750 and we are ending the year at a price at or just below $700 for a ten pound cylinder. If I was to predict what would happen next year I would say almost exactly the same thing as this year. The addition of more cars to the marketplace will create more demand for manufacturing. Honeywell and Chemours will respond accordingly and start to add more of it to the market. This will be a slow creep effect and I could see at the end of 2017 that we will be looking at a price of around $620-$650 a cylinder.

As the years roll by and the refrigerant becomes more popular I see us going under $500 but not much lower than that. When the phaseout of 134a starts in 2020 I could see 1234YF jumping up in price for a a few months but as the phaseout wears on the price of 1234YF will settle back down to around $500-$600. In my opinion, the days of lower priced HFCs are gone. HFO’s will always be higher than what we are used to today with our low cost environmentally damaging HFCs. My final prediction for 2017 on 1234F is $635.00 for a ten pound cylinder this time next year.

If you are interested n purchasing 1234YF than I suggest your visit our friends over at Refrigerant Depot. We’ve been partnered with them for the past couple years and they have provided the best product and service to our customers.

Conclusion

As I said at the beginning of this post these predictions are just that… predictions. No one knows exactly what will happen next year and anyone who claims to know is making it up! Here’s hoping that I’m right on 1234YF and 410A and am dead wrong R-22! No one wants to see the price go up. (Well at least I don’t.)

I hope all of you enjoyed my post and my fortune telling on next year’s market trends. Here’s to a happy new year and I wish everyone the best sales next summer!

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

Owner.

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.

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.

Donald Trump's Affect on the Refrigerant Industry

Regardless of your politics last month’s election was definitely a surprise. Obviously, the election of Donald Trump will have a profound impact on the country and the rest of the world. The question I ask to you is what kind of impact will he have on the United States’ refrigerant market?

Now, we all know what kind of affect Barack Obama had on the market. While he didn’t preside over the phase out of HCFCs like R-22 he did preside over the beginning stages of phasing out HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. All of his actions were in response to his Climate Change Action Plan. (This link to whitehouse.gov will show more detail.) Obama used the Environmental Protection Agency to impose new regulations on HFCs and to eventually phase them out entirely. His goal was to replace all of these refrigerants with the less potent, but more flammable, HFO refrigerants such as 1234YF. On top of that he also pressured other countries to do the same. (India, China, Pakistan, and others.)

R-404A is the first to go away and the process has already begun. In 2015 the EPA listed R-404A as unacceptable in newly manufactured machines as of 2017. This covers all supermarket refrigerators and freezers. Vending machines get a bit more of a break and have a deadline of 2019. I wrote an article about this at the time of the release and it can be found by clicking here. Next on Obama’s list was R-134a. The EPA has listed 134a as unacceptable in new vehicles as of the year 2020. (2021 model years.) The goal here is to switch everyone over to 1234YF or to other natural refrigerants.

So we know what Obama did and wanted to do the question is what do we predict Trump doing over the next four years? While I am not a fortune teller I believe the answer can be drilled down to two main points:

Tariffs on Imports

Before President Trump was even a pipe dream there were already anti-dumping law suits filed against Chinese companies importing their R-134a refrigerant in mass. The complaint was that the Chinese companies were being subsidized by the Chinese government which caused their price to lower to unheard of levels. Since this cheaper import was being flooded into the United States market it caused the US refrigerant manufacturers to drop their price as well. While this may sound good for the consumer it was actively hurting the manufacturers such as Honeywell, DuPont/Chemours, and Mexichem. Along with hurting US companies it also allowed for impure 134a product from China to enter the market. (Not all of the Chinese product was one-hundred percent 134a.)

The three companies I just mentioned joined together in a group called the American HFC Coalition. The coalition filed a suit with the US government’s International Trade Commission. The Trade Commission took over a year to decide and so far nothing official has happened but the signs are all pointing to an imposed tariff on the imported 134a.

The commission is due to hold another hearing on February 23rd, 2017 on it’s decision. (Link about it can be found here.) The rumor is that there will be around a two-hundred percent tariff imposed on new product. This tariff may in fact even be retroactive on previous imports. So, if you imported 134a in the past you may be at risk of having to pay the tariff or fine on your old product. This has many small business owners very nervous.

Donald’s Stance

Throughout the campaign Donald Trump has stated again and again that he is against China. In his words they have been doing a trade war with the United States and they have been winning. He has also said that he is in favor of large tariffs on companies that move jobs overseas. It only seems logical that he would be in favor of anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese imported refrigerant.

I foresee that when he becomes President that he will push this even more than it already is. Chemours and Honeywell will grab his ear and he will push his Trade Commission hard and fast to approve the tariffs. If this does get approved the price on a cylinder of R-134a could reach upwards to $150-$200 a cylinder perhaps even higher than that.

Climate Change Skepticism

Well that first part was the bad news. Are you ready for the good news now? Donald Trump has stated again and again that he believes Climate Change to be a hoax. Believe it or not, this is good for the price of refrigerants. On top of his stance on climate change he has also stated that he will be getting rid of regulations across the board. Combining these two stances I could see Trump reversing course on the EPA’s decision to phase out 404A and 134a.

The whole reason they are being phased out is due to their Global Warming Potential and how they contribute to Global Warming. If Trump doesn’t believe in Global Warming in the first place why would he instill these hardships on businesses across the country? It just doesn’t make sense.

I don’t see this being a top priority for Trump right away but I feel as time goes on into his term and his consultants bring this to his attention that he will make the move to stop the HFC phase out before the deadline hits.

Conclusion

Having Trump is a mixed bag for the refrigerant industry. On one hand you get the Climate Change skepticism and the most likely remaining of HFC refrigerants. On the other hand though you have his hatred of China and their trade war. Over the next few years I predict we’ll see:

  • Tariffs installed not only on 134a but on other refrigerants as well. (410A and maybe even 1234YF.) These tariffs will force companies to make their product here in the US.
  • Reduction or total cancellation of HFC phase outs. (Including 404A, 134a, and 410A.)

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

Owner.

Australia to phase out HFC refrigerants by 2036.

While there still hasn’t been a formal amendment added to the Montreal Protocol to phase out HFC refrigerants across the world there are many countries that are taking pro-active steps to phase out HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, and R-134a. The United States announced phase-out measures that they would be taking in the summer of 2015. The European Union has been even more proactive and has already completely phased out R-134a refrigerant across their various countries.

Australia has now committed to phase down their HFC refrigerant usage by eighty-five percent by the year 2036. This scheduled phasedown will begin in the year 2018 and is predicted to be completed over an eighteen year period. The Montreal Protocol’s HFC amendment is expected to pass towards the end of 2016 and implementation to begin in 2018 or 2019. Australia is just getting a head start before the mandate is pushed down to the rest of the world.

At this time the go to replacement products are HFO refrigerants such as 1234YF or Natural Refrigerants such as CO2. New HFOs are being developed to this very day by companies like Honeywell and Chemours. Using natural refrigerants, like CO2, is ironic for us as when the refrigeration market was first being developed CO2 was one of the FIRST refrigerants used in large commercial buildings like movie theatres. When refrigerant was discovered, a much cheaper alternative, CO2 began to go away and be replaced by the much cheaper R-12 and eventually R-22.

Even though it seems we just started using HFC refrigerants, and regardless what anyone thinks about them, the world powers have deemed that HFCs are bad and that they will be going away over the next decade. The question is are you, or your business, ready for the change?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Sources:

 

 

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

 

 

Montreal Protocol 2015 Meeting in Dubai

In just a month from now one-hundred and ninety-seven countries will meet in Dubai for the twenty-seventh meeting of the Montreal Protocol Treaty. The meeting is to start on November 1st and is expected to last most of the week.

Unlike in the past where these meetings were held to discuss the damaging of the O-Zone layer and the coordinated phase outs of ChloroFluroCarbons and HydroChloroFluroCarbons this meeting will be focused not on the O-Zone but instead on the Greenhouse gases and Global Warming caused by HydroFluroCarbons. Over the course of 2015 there have been four different amendments submitted to the Montreal Protocol to globally phase-out HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. These amendments are as follows:

  • Mexico, Canada, and the United States submitted one earlier this year.
  • The European Union formally submitted one this year as well. It’s important to remember that this is most of Europe.
  • ‘Micronesia,’ nations submitted an amendment as well. These countries include Kiribati, Palau, Philippines, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Samoa and Solomon Islands
  • The big change this year is that of India, one of the biggest protestors of the HFC phase-out, submitted an amendment at the beginning of this summer. On top of India, China has also declared support for the HFC phase out. I wrote an article on the Indian amendment earlier this year and it can be found by clicking here.

Will the Phase Out Amendment Pass?

Western nations have been pushing for this phase out for the past few years and with each month that passes the resistance dissolves little by little. There were two big steps towards progress that happened earlier this year. The first being that India is now on board and had even submitted an amendment. The second being that China has agreed to phase out their HFCs as well. With these two behemoths out of the way it only leaves a few smaller countries resisting to the phase out.

These countries are as follows:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait
  • Pakistan
  • Miscellaneous smaller middle eastern countries.

There were informal talks earlier this year in Paris. The hope was to hammer out the details and get any opposition out of the way then so when the time came for the November meeting there would not be any resistance. The middle eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, I believe will bow to pressure at next month’s meeting. Saudi Arabia was already receiving significant pressure from the ‘United African Group,’ about their opposition. It is only a matter of time before they join everyone else. Once Saudi falls the other smaller middle eastern countries will follow suit.

The country to look out for is Pakistan. During the July talks in Paris Pakistan outright blocked any further talks on an HFC amendment to the protocol. The reason they gave was that alternative refrigerants such as HFOs or natural refrigerants would not work as efficiently in their hotter environment. It seemed like a superficial complaint as many other countries with just as hot climates are on board with the phase out. The real question is will Pakistan continue it’s resistance during the November meetings, or will they bow to pressure and let he amendments pass?

Staggered Approach

When the amendment passes, and it most likely will, it is important to keep in mind that the usage and production of HFC refrigerants will not instantly be shut off like a light switch going from on to off. The same staggered approach that was used for phasing out HCFCs will be used here as well. In fact the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency has already begun the phase-out of HFC refrigerants already. Early this summer the EPA announced that they would begin the phase out of R-134a in automotive applications and R-404A in vending machine and transported carrier applications. I wrote an article about this here.

So, when the amendment passes know that it’s not the end of the world. Your government will adopt a staggered approach that will most likely be mapped out in this same November meeting.

Summary

As of today there is nothing to panic or be alarmed about. The end of HFCS is coming and the amendment will most likely pass next month but I do not predict any large price increases coming, at least not for quite a while. If I was a betting man I would bet that the R-404A will be the first price to significantly rise over the next few years. (It is scheduled to be phased out in 2017.) If you fast forward a few more years R-134a will start to climb as we approach the 2021 deadline. All in all, keep an eye out and your ear to the ground and you’ll be fine.

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

 

The reign of 134a is coming to an end.

The End of R-134a

Well ladies and gentlemen the reign of R-134a has finally come to an end here in the United States. Last week RIGHT before the July fourth holiday the Environmental Protection Agency thought it was the perfect time to announce that they will be phasing out R-134a across the country.The official announcement can be found by clicking here. I also wrote an article summarizing the announcement as well, which can be found by clicking here.

The timing of this drives me crazy and just screams big government. I got an e-mail on my phone while I was driving home Thursday night with the news. It caught me off guard, not because I wasn’t expecting 134a to go away but because it was literally right before the holiday weekend and mandatory phase outs of HFC refrigerants was the furthest thing from my mind. I had a barbecue to plan and fireworks to watch, and I can just picture the guys in the EPA office hitting the ‘send’ button and walking out of the office for four days off.

Ok, enough of that little rant, let’s get down to business.

When Will R-134a Be Phased Out?

According to the EPA’s announcement the chosen date for mandatory R-134a phase out is the year 2020. The goal is for all vehicles with the model year of 2021 to use an alternative refrigerant in place of 134a. They did make an exception for vehicles that are specifically manufactured for export out of the country. Vehicle exports have a cut off of 2024 or 2025 model year. So, we are looking at less than five years until 134a is phased out nationally. Five years seems like a long time but it will come in a flash and I can only hope that the vehicle manufacturers are ready for the new systems.

An excerpt from their actual ruling is below:

“EPA is listing HFC-134a as unacceptable for newly manufactured light-duty motor vehicles beginning in Model Year (MY) 2021 except as allowed under a narrowed use limit for use in newly manufactured light-duty vehicles destined for use in countries that do not have infrastructure in place for servicing with other acceptable refrigerants. This narrowed use limit will be in place through MY 2025. Beginning in MY 2026, HFC-134a will be unacceptable for use in all newly manufactured light-duty vehicles.” -Source

The Reign of R-134a

The reign of 134a is coming to an end.
The reign of 134a is coming to an end.

R-134a came about as a replacement refrigerant for the R-12 Refrigerant that was being phased out due to the Chlorine that it contained. R-12 was the standard refrigerant for vehicles for many years but as air conditioning became more and more popular the amount of R-12 Refrigerant that was released into the atmosphere grew and grew. It was found that the Chlorine contained in R-12 was actively damaging the Earth’s O-Zone layer which was leading to increased ultra violet radiation and overall warming of the planet.

R-134a was picked as a replacement due to it not containing Chlorine and thus not affecting the O-Zone layer. R-134a first began to see widespread usage in 1992 and took over the automotive market entirely in 1994. If you have a vehicle from 1994 or newer your air conditioning unit takes R-134a. It has been the standard automotive refrigerant for over twenty years.

While the intention was great R-134a was found to have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP.  GWP is a measurement of how much heat a greenhouse gas will trap in the atmosphere. The GWP scale uses Carbon Dioxide as a baseline control number. CO2 has a GWP of 1 while R-134a has a GWP of 1,320. 134a was directly contributing to Global Warming and the call to phase out had begun.

The European Union was the first group of nations to begin phase out of R-134a. All new vehicles manufactured in 2011 or newer could no longer be made to use R-134a. Manufacturers had to find an alternative refrigerant that was under the Global Warming Potential requirement of 150. It was all but predicted that the United States would be next to phase out 134a but it was just a matter of when.  We now have that date, 2020.

134a reigned supreme for twenty-one years already and will continue to be used widely through out the country for another five years. Almost a thirty year reign. Not bad if I say so myself.

What is the Replacement?

1234YF

There is one mainstream refrigerant that will be replacing 134a and that is the new 1234YF. 1234YF is a Hydroflurooolefin refrigerant and has a Global Warming Potential of four and it does not damage the O-Zone layer. Oh, and did I mention that 1234YF decomposes into the atmosphere after only eleven days?

1234YF was developed by a joint venture of DuPont and Honeywell in response to the European Union’s phase out plan of 134a back in 2006. At this point in time there are two main brand names, the Honeywell version called Solstice and DuPont’s/Chemour’s version called Opteon YF. In 2014 three million cars were taking 1234YF and at the end of 2015 that number is expected to double. As the phase-out of 134a approaches expect to see more and more manufacturers switching over to 1234YF in the United States and abroad.

Pros of 1234YF:

  • 1234YF  runs at similar pressures and is practically a drop in replacement for 134a. This will help keep costs down when switching over a system.
  • 1234YF does not contribute to Global Warming.
  • 1234YF does not harm the O-Zone layer and actually decomposes into the atmosphere after only eleven days.
  • 1234YF allows for lighter and more compact air conditioning units which benefits your vehicle’s fuel economy.
  • You will not need to be EPA certified to purchase 1234YF.

Cons of 1234YF:

  • Price. I hope you are not used to the one-hundred dollar price for a thirty pound jug of 134a. That’ll be going away fast. Expect to pay around $700-$800 for a ten pound cylinder of 1234YF in 2015. The good news is 1234YF systems do not use as much refrigerant as the older 134a systems.
  • Flammability – Most OE’s will state that yes, 1234YF does have higher flammability… but it is of no risk to the consumer or technicians. However, if you have that same conversation with someone in Germany you may get an entirely different story. Hint, check with Daimler!
  • New Equipment will have to be purchased in order for you shop to handle 1234YF refrigerant. Yes, that means a whole new recovery machine, potentially even new identification equipment as well.

Even though 1234YF is set to be the dominant player in the automotive industry there is still another alternative that is slowly picking up some traction.

CO2

The other alternative refrigerant is the Natural Refrigerant Carbon Dioxide. Most companies have stayed away from using Carbon Dioxide as CO2 systems would require a much larger and heavier air conditioning system than what is used in automobiles today and there is not currently a supply line setup for mass manufacturing of carbon dioxide refrigerant parts.

Despite those two drawbacks of CO2 there are automobile manufacturers who are moving forward with CO2 instead of 1234YF. In the early days of 1234YF the German company Mercedes Benz did numerous tests on the new refrigerant and found that the refrigerant is extremely flammable and can even cause the refrigerant to ignite during a frontal collision. One such test caused the engine to erupt in flames. Mercedes Benz and other Germany manufacturers were alarmed by this discovery and vowed that they would not be using 1234YF as standard replacement refrigerant.  Stefan Geyer, a senior Daimler engineer who ran the tests, stated “We were frozen in shock, I am not going to deny it. We needed a day to comprehend what we had just seen.” This is just one Daimler Engineer’s reaction to their testing of 1234YF.

Germany authorized it’s automobile manufacturers to continue using 134a until a suitable replacement refrigerant is chosen. The European Union was obviously not happy with this as Germany was now in violation of the new law banning 134a.  The EU threatened Germany with law suits and sanctions, but so far nothing has come of it. After years of research German companies decided on the R-744 or Carbon Dioxide refrigerant instead of the 1234YF.

 Pros of Carbon Dioxide:

  • Carbon Dioxide has a Global Warming Potential of 0. It’s rival, 1234YF, has a GWP of 4. Not a huge difference here, but 1234YF is still contributing to Global Warming.
  • Carbon Dioxide does not contribute to Global Warming, O-Zone depletion, or any other environmental concern. It is a natural refrigerant.
  • Carbon Dioxide systems are some of the most energy efficient products on the market today.
  • Many collisions tests have been done with CO2 systems and none have resulted in a fire hazard. (Unlike 1234YF)
  • You are not forced to recover, recycle, or even reclaim R-744/CO2 refrigerant as it has no ill effects on the environment.

Cons of Carbon Dioxide:

  • Carbon Dioxide systems are much bulkier and heavier than their 1234YF and 134a counter parts. This extra weight can create a drag in fuel economy.
  • Carbon Dioxide works at an extremely high pressure. This high pressure means that automotive air conditioning systems will have to be completely redesigned in order for them to use R-744. This is a big detriment as 1234YF is being marketed as a drop in replacement for 134a.
  • Again, due to the high pressure that CO2 operates new components are having to be specifically designed in order for them to work properly with CO2 and to last. When CO2 was used in the early twentieth century it resulted in many part failures due to the constant high operating pressure.

I predict in the next ten to fifteen years that Carbon Dioxide will be the main refrigerant for automobiles. 1234YF seems to be temporary, just as 134a was. We’ll most likely go through this whole change over throughout the next few years only to change everything over again to the ‘new’ Carbon Dioxide refrigerant.

What Will Happen to Pricing on R-134a?

The pricing on R-134a is anything but certain. It is difficult to say what will happen to the price over the next few months and even the next few years. Let’s look at the facts:

  • R-134a will be phased out in five years across the country.
  • On top of the phase out of 134a the ‘American Hydrocarbon Commission,’ just filed an anti-dumping suit with the United States Department of Commerce against Chinese refrigerants.

With these two things in mind I expect the price of R-134a to slowly creep up over the rest of this summer and winter. I do not foresee a sudden jump but more of a slow rise. In the spring of 2016 I predict R-134a will be at around $115.00 for a thirty pound cylinder. (It’s at about $75-$80 a cylinder today.) As more time passes the more this price will rise until we get to 2020 and then we may even see the price get to R-22 levels of around $300-$350 a cylinder.

Sources

Conclusion

R-134a had a good run and most people saw the end coming, we just didn’t think it would be this soon. The only thing we can do now is watch and wait. Vehicle manufacturers will begin the slow process of switching newer models over to 1234YF and as the years pass you will see more and more vehicles coming in with 1234YF systems. It’s  a brave new world… until we decide to phase out 1234YF. Then who knows.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

2015 Refrigerant Price Per Pound Predictions

I did a post on 2015 refrigerant predictions last November and figured I would do another post predicting this summer’s pricing as well as the fall and even into 2016. After all, it’s been six months since my last prediction post and a lot has changed. So, what is the price per pound on refrigerant for 2015? What changes are coming? What should you look out for?

The one thing to remember is that refrigerants are a commodity and pricing can jump or dive in a day’s time. The best analogy that I can make is that it is similar to the price of oil. Some days it’s at eighty dollars a barrel and other days it’s at fifty a barrel.

You never really know what’s going to happen… but you can predict using knowledge of the industry and what has been happening in the market. Or, you can just pull out your crystal ball!

R-134a

R-134A 30 Pound Cylinder Refrigerant
R-134A 30 Pound Cylinder

Let’s start with the most complicated one, R-134a. R-134a is pretty much the standard refrigerant on any automobile application including cars, buses, trucks, and everything else. Over the past couple years the price on R-134a has maintained around $65-$80 a jug when buying a pallet at a time. (A pallet is forty jugs.) This price has really been the standard since I’ve been in the industry which is about eight years.

The Law-Suit

Last year in early 2014 things changed. In late 2013 a company called MexiChem filed a lawsuit at the International Trade Commission. (MexiChem is one of the largest refrigerant manufacturers in the United States. Honeywell and DuPont being the others.) MexiChem’s lawsuit stated that the Chinese product being imported into the United States was being brought in at such a low price that it was making MexiChem and other North American manufacturers not competitive in the market place.

To give an example, today you could buy a container of R-134a refrigerant from China for about $45-$50 a jug. Considering that most American made product is being bought for $65-80 a jug that leaves quite a difference in price. The distributors of this Chinese product could sell at $60 a jug and take all of the North American manufacturers’ business with ease.

Supposedly, the Chinese goverment was also subsidizing the refrigerant before it came into the United States. So, if the actual cost to manufacture the refrigerant was $35 the Chinese government would give subsides to the Chinese manufacturer and lower their price another $5.00 per jug. Not only are we dealing with imported product but now we are dealing with goverment funded imports. I can see why MexiChem was complaining.

The proposed fix in MexiChem’s lawsuit was to have the International Trade Commission levy heavy tariffs on the imported R-134a product. As I said previously the lawsuit was filed in late 2013 and was reviewed at the end of the first quarter in 2014. This is where things got interesting. It looked like the Trade Commission was going to sign with MexiChem and issue the tariffs. This sent a panic throughout the industry and caused the price of R-134a to skyrocket in  week. I remember the week well. We were buying at around $70 a jug and then all of a sudden it jumped to $110 a jug. THEN it jumped to $145 a jug… and stayed there.

The price jumped as people realized that if these tariffs were issued what was to stop the big three refrigerant manufacturers from raising their cost even higher across the market? If the tariffs put the Chinese product at $90 a cylinder why not raise the American product to $90 a cylinder and make a bunch more profit? A lot of people panicked and bought up as much product as they could before the price raised even higher which in turn caused the price to keep climbing. The price stayed above $100 pretty much all summer, but it did start to steadily decline and eventually fall below $100 again towards the end of fall.

In November, 2014 the Trade Commission came to a ruling on the lawsuit. They ruled against MexiChem stating that the Chinese product was not harming the United States refrigeration industry. I wrote an article about this back in November and it can be found by clicking here. Needless to say, MexiChem wasn’t happy. They thought it over for a few months and in January of 2015 they appealed the Trade Commission’s ruling hoping for a different outcome in 2015. The Trade Commission’s next ruling is predicted towards the end of 2015 or early 2016. It is anyone’s guess as to what they will decide.

HFC Phase Outs

On top of the pending lawsuit on R-134a there is also the inevitable phase out of 134a to consider. R-134a is an HFC class refrigerant and is widely believed to be the next big phase out in the United States. It was already phased out in the European Union and is being pushed for phase out in the US already by the Obama Administration. Unlike it’s CFC/HCFC cousins 134a is not being phased out due to it’s Chlorine content, instead it is being phased out due to it’s high Global Warming Potential (GWP). R-134a has a GWP of 1,300 and it’s new alternative refrigerant 1234YF has a GWP of 4. The concern here is not the O-Zone but of Global Warming. Every time 134a is released into the atmosphere it contributes to GreenHouse Gases and Global Warming.

Europe is always ahead of the game when it comes to climate regulations and phased out 134a a few years ago and replaced it with the new HFO-1234YF refrigerant. Here in America 134a is still widely used for most automobiles but 1234YF is gaining traction on newer vehicle models such as General Motors. It is only a matter of time before 134a slowly goes away and is replaced with the new 1234YF.

Oh, and did I mention that there is an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that is being pushed by the North American countries, the European Union, China, and India to phase out ALL HFC refrigerants? Yes, I said all. That means 404A, 410A, and 134a. Nothing has been finalized yet, but it is expected to pass during this winter’s climate summit in Dubai.

R-134a Conclusion

With all of the above information on 134a it is surprising to see that the price per jug in 2015 has actually fallen back down to the $65-$80 range again. The price slowly began to fall over the 2014/2015 winter months and now with this cold spring that we are having it is still maintaining right around the ‘usual’ price. For the rest of 2015 I would predict the price to stay relatively flat. My reasoning is as follows:

  • The Trade Commission will not be ruling on MexiChem’s lawsuit until the end of the year. I do not foresee this affecting pricing until 2016 if it affects it all.
  • The HFC phaseout meeting will occur at the end of the year as well, but even if this passes it is still a twenty to thirty year timeline. It will not happen overnight and I do not feel like there will be a panic if this passes.
  • Lastly, it’s been a cold spring where I’m at in the MidWest. I don’t know about your side of the country but it’s been a nice wet spring so the demand for HVAC hasn’t hit yet. Who knows what summer will bring though.

In conclusion I predict we’ll stay right around the $65-$80 per cylinder for the remainder of 2015. Although, 2016 is completely wide open as all of these open issues will come to fruition.

If you are looking to purchase R-134a as individual cylinders you can find them on Amazon by clicking this link.

R-410A

r-404a 25 pound cylinderR-410A is slowly becoming the standard refrigerant for home and commercial buildings. If you own an air conditioning unit from the year 2010 or greater chances are it is taking R-410a as it’s refrigerant. I actually just had a new unit installed for my home and I have to say it is SOOO much more efficient than the old R-22 unit. My monthly bills were cut by about thirty percent!

On to the pricing. I’ve been watching R-410a for the past couple years and it’s price really hasn’t changed much at all. It’s been hovering at around $60-$70 per cylinder when purchasing a pallet. Back in 2013 I sold 410A over Amazon for a few months and my price hardly every changed. 410A is still ‘new’ to the industry and is not being widely used at the moment. All of the older AC units are using the CFC R-22. But, as time goes on and the years pass R-410A will become more mainstream through out the country and I would predict price to go up over the years.

That being said I do have to mention that 410A is an HFC refrigerant, just like 134a. You know what that means. It is being proposed to be phased out at this year’s climate summit. Many many countries are pushing for all HFC’s to be phased out and this is another one that falls into that category. The problem is with 410A there is not a mainstream alternative, yet. There are some companies experimenting with varying types of refrigerant such as the new HFO refrigerants, Carbon Dioxide, or even Propane. So far nothing has come out on top yet.

R-410A Conclusion

For 2015 I don’t see much at all changing on R-410A. As I said before it’s still a fairly new refrigerant and when the phase outs of HFCs do come I predict 410A to be the last of the HFCs to go. With 134a there is already an alternative HFO refrigerant and with 404A there is already an alternative HFO refrigerant. With 410A there really isn’t one… yet.

In conclusion I predict 410A to stay steady at the $60-$70 per cylinder range.

If you are looking to purchase R-410A as individual cylinders you can find them on Amazon by clicking this link.

R-404A

46R-404A isn’t as big as 134a, R-22, or 410A but it definitely has it’s purpose. Ever been in a supermarket? Of course you have. All those grocery store freezers, those ice machines, vending machines, and even transport refrigeration all use 404A. So, you as a homeowner may not have a need for 404A but it is definitely everywhere you go.

As far as future and pricing R-404A is pretty much the same as 410A. There aren’t any active lawsuits on it, there aren’t any BIG changes coming, and it is an HFC refrigerant so it is expected to be phased out over the next few years. It’s just about the same price as 410A as well. 404A hovers around $75-$85 a cylinder when buying a pallet and not much higher when just buying one jug at a time. (Amazon and E-Bay are at about $90-$95 a cylinder at a time.)

The one thing to note with 404A is that there is now an alternative HFO refrigerant known as R-452A.  But, it’s not ‘THE’ alternative. It’s a poor man’s alternative. R-404A has a Global Warming Potential of 3,943. The new R-452A has a GWP of 2,140. As you can see it’s quite the reduction in GWP but compared to the 134a alternative, 1234YF, it is nowhere near good enough. 1234YF has a GWP of 4 and 452A is still way up over 2,000.

Regardless of that, ThermoKing and Carrier have begun building their new refrigerated trucks using R-452A rather than 404A. Not only that, but Coca Cola has begun switching it’s vending machines away from 404A over to Carbon Dioxide refrigerants, or R-744. Companies are leaving 404A behind in droves and it’s only going to increase as time goes on.

R-404A Conclusion

I actually predict the price of 404A to go down as we go through the summer and fall of 2015. Nothing crazy here, maybe five dollars a cylinder. It just seems that with all of these companies switching away from 404A that the demand is going to crash and the price is going to go down. Just be ready for the phase out of 404A in the next few years as we may see prices rise again.

In conclusion I predict 404A to go down about $5.00 a cylinder in the 2015 summer and fall. Price would be around $65-$75 a cylinder for one pallet.

If you are looking to purchase jugs of 404A at a time visit our Amazon partner by clicking here.

R-22

R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder
R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder

R-22 was the end all be all of refrigerant for fifty years. It was THE refrigerant used in home and commercial buildings. It was also one of the first types of refrigerants to be phased out via the Montreal Protocol. The phase out of R-22 was due to the Chlorine that it contained in it’s chemical composition. Chlorine when released in the atmosphere damages the O-Zone layer and it was found in the 1980s that the constant use of R-12 and R-22 had caused a hole to form in the O-Zone. Numerous countries banded together and formed the Montreal Protocol to ban O-Zone depleting substances such as R-22.

In 2010 the ban of R-22 began. The first step was that NO new machines manufactured or imported in the United States could take R-22. The new machines had to take an alternative O-Zone friendly refrigerant. The default replacement that was chosen was R-410A. When the 2010 phase out hit the price of R-22 climbed substantially and has held steady at about $290-$300 a cylinder for a pallet. Even quite a bit higher when buying a single jug at about $380-$400 a cylinder.

In 2015 there was another step in the phase out of R-22. This step involved the United States to cut ninety percent of it’s consumption and imports of R-22. In November of 2014 I predicted that the new 2015 reduction would cause the prices of R-22 to go even higher, but surprisingly that did not happen. At least not yet.

R-22’s phase out schedule can be found by visiting the EPA’s site by clicking here or by reading an excerpt below:

January 1, 2004:
The Montreal Protocol required the U.S. to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 35% below the U.S. baseline cap. As of January 1, 2003, EPA banned production and import of HCFC-141b, the most ozone-destructive HCFC. This action allowed the United States to meet its obligations under the Montreal Protocol. EPA was able to issue 100% of company baseline allowances for production and import of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b.
January 1, 2010:
The Montreal Protocol requires the U.S. to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 75% below the U.S. baseline. Allowance holders may only produce or import HCFC-22 to service existing equipment. Virgin R-22 may not be used in new equipment. As a result, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system manufacturers may not produce new air conditioners and heat pumps containing R-22.
January 1, 2015:
The Montreal Protocol requires the U.S. to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 90% below the U.S. baseline.
January 1, 2020:
The Montreal Protocol requires the U.S. to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 99.5% below the U.S. baseline. Refrigerant that has been recovered and recycled/reclaimed will be allowed beyond 2020 to service existing systems, but chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce R-22 to service existing air conditioners and heat pumps.

R-22 Conclusion

R-22 is going away, rather you like it or not. Every year it gets more expensive. I wrongly predicted that the price would go up to around $500 a jug in 2015 due to the reduction in supply but that is not to say that the price won’t still go up. After all, the inventory is shrinking and there is still a large amount of R-22 units running in the United States. There will be a demand even with this reduction in production.

In conclusion I predict R-22’s price to rise, but not substantially over 2015. At the end of 2015 I can see R-22 being bought at about $330-$350 a cylinder for pallet and about $420-$430 for individual cylinders.

Again, if you are interested in purchasing R-22 by the jug please visit our Amazon partner by clicking this link. Please note that in order to purchase R-22 you will need to be 608 licensed with the EPA.

1234YF

1234YF Refrigerant & Refrigerant
HoneyWell’s Solstice 1234YF Private Brand

1234YF is the new HFO replacement for R-134a automobile applications. It is seeing widespread usage in Europe but it is still very rare to see in the United States. There are a few manufacturers using it today on their new models of cars but you will begin to see 1234YF units more and more over 2015 and in future years. Remember, 134a is going away and 1234YF is the recommended replacement. The only other viable alternative at this time is Carbon Dioxide units, but these are still being experimented with at this time.

Here’s the downside. The price of 1234YF is VERY high. Now, I’m not sure why the price is so high. My guess would be either the supply is extremely low at this time, or the manufacturing process is a lot more complicated compared to it’s HFC counterparts. Today the price on a ten pound jug of 1234YF is sitting around $700 a jug. (I don’t even know anybody buying pallets of this stuff yet.) The hope is that this price will begin decline over the years as it becomes more mainstream through the United States.

1234YF Conclusion

1234YF is still fairly new to the US market and is seeing a very high introductory price. I do not see this price changing much, if at all, in 2015. My prediction is that it will stay right at $700 a jug give or take $20 higher or lower.

If you are interested in purchasing 1234YF refrigerant then I would highly recommend visiting Refrigerant Depot out of Orlando, Florida by visiting this link. They are an official Honeywell Refrigerants distributor and will provide the product right to your door.

Final Conclusion

Just remember that refrigerants are a commodity and the pricing changes daily. A few tips before I leave on buying refrigerant:

  • If you can, buy product in the dead of winter. Prices are cheap and vendors want to unload their excess product. You can usually get quite a deal.
  • Watch the market and look for incoming phase outs. You never know when the price will skyrocket.
  • Don’t be afraid to sit on refrigerant inventory.  It doesn’t go bad and you may end up saving yourself a fortune.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

 

 

R-452A to Replace R-404A

 

R-452A to Replace R-404A?

There has been a big push over the past couple years to replace R-404A and other HFC refrigerants with alternatives. The push comes from HFCs having a larger Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is compared against Carbon Dioxide which has a GWP of 1. R-404A has a GWP of 3,943. Obviously, there is quite the difference here and you can see the need to find an alternative to the high GWP R-404A.

When finding an alternative the goal is to find a drop in replacement rather than having to retrofit the entire system. This saves time, money, and headaches for the customer. DuPont has developed an alternative to R-404A that does just that. It is known as HFO R-452A. (DuPont’s brand name is Opteon XP44) The R-452A has a GWP of 2,140. It is by no means a miracle replacement as the GWP is still quite high, but it is cutting the GWP almost in half compared to 404A and it provides an easy transition.

Benefits of R-452A

  • Up to forty-five percent reduction in your company’s global warming potential contribution.
  • No loss of performance or reliability on your vehicles.
    • Refrigerant functions the same as R-404A.
  • Low flammability.
  • Low operating cost.
  • No extra cost of ownership or retrofitting.
  • Company reputation – Be one of the first ones on the market to use the new environmentally friendly refrigerant.

Carrier and Thermo King Switching

Carrier and Thermo King announced in late 2014 that they would be switching their units over to R-452A in 2015. In fact just this month I was reading an article that Thermo King announced they sold their first R-452A unit to a customer in Spain. The article was from the Cooling Post and can be found by clicking here. Not only is Thermo King manufacturing new units with 452A but they are also offering consultation and assistance on switching their customer’s existing units over to 452A.

On top of Thermo King switching over Carrier Transicold has announced that they will be switching over their units in second and third quarter of 2015. Again, another article from the Cooling Post about Carrier’s switch can be found here.

Conclusion

These switches are mostly taking place across Europe at this time but it’s only a matter of time before it becomes mainstream in the United States as well. Europe always seems to be ahead of the game when it comes to new and alternative refrigerants. Here in the States we like to have others test it out for us before we jump on!

It is speculated that HFO 452A is a placeholder refrigerant until the main manufacturers do a full scale switch over to CO2. Which would make sense since R-452A is still considered a very high on the Global Warming Potential scale. So, who knows how long R-452A will even be around until the next best thing comes out.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

 

 

India Agrees to Phaseout of HFC Refrigerants

Well folks, the last big ball to drop has finally hit for HFCs. It’s only a matter of time now before they are phased out just as CFCs/HCFCs were. This Thursday India declared that they are in favor of phasing out HFC refrigerants and that they are in favor of adding an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that would regulate the phase out across the world.This was a huge development over the past few months as India was the biggest obstacle in getting HFC use banned.

One of India’s main reasons for resistance is that it was a developing nation and that it could not handle doing a mass transition away from HFCs. After-all, they had just finished a mass transition of CFCs to HFCs not too long ago. Now the world is telling them that HFCs are bad too and that they need to switch away from those as well. As a compromise with the rest of the world India declared that they would be in favor of phasing out HFCs but only if a fifteen-twenty year timeline comes into play. This would give India enough time to transition their infrastructure to accommodate the new alternative refrigerants.

This is very similar to the deal that was struck with China in late 2014. China agreed to phase out HFCs as well but only after twenty-five years of preparation. While the western governments hail this as progress it seems that they are getting the short end of the stick. We make all of these immediate promises to China/India and yet they do not deliver anything on their side until fifteen to twenty years later. Who is going to hold India or China to these promises when the time comes? We’ll see how this pans out.

Now, nothing officially has happened yet, but the world governments will meet in November for an annual climate meeting. In this meeting the amendment to the Montreal Protocol to ban HFCs will be introduced to the body. At this point with all of these new developments I see no reason why it will not pass. The only opposition that I am aware is Saudi Arabia and some other small middle eastern countries, but they have not had much of an impact in the past and I do not foresee them stalling any possible changes. Once it is passed the phase out of HFCs will be scheduled over the coming years. I predict R-134a being the first to be phased out, then R-404A, and R-410A last.

I found most of this info from The Times of India website which can be found by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

 

Is Brand Important?

Fact Sheet on DuPont’s Opteon YF HFO

I came across this link today from DuPont’s website and thought I would share. It provides a fact sheet on DuPont’s newly announced Opteon brand for automotive applications. This is the new HFO 1234YF refrigerant that has a very low Global Warming Potential. As it stands today 1234YF will be the refrigerant of the future for all automotive applications. It has a much lower global warming potential than it’s predecessor 134a and it does not contain Chlorine which could harm the O-Zone layer. All in all it sounds like a great alternative to R-134a.

DuPont Fact Sheet:

http://www2.dupont.com/Refrigerants/en_US/assets/downloads/SmartAutoAC/k21958_Opteon-YF-Fact-Sheet.pdf

1234YF Hurdles and Challenges

Logo_DaimlerThe only bumps in the road on 1234YF have been the flammability risk. There have been numerous independent tests throughout the world and all but one have come back with a very low chance of flammability. Daimler, out of Germany, completed a test that showed that during a collision and under the hot conditions of an engine environment the 1234YF refrigerant did ignite. DuPont and Honeywell both disputed this test by Daimler stating that the test was done in secret and with no third party observation involved. Daimler rejected their claims saying that test was one-hundred percent legitimate and that there was a real danger in using 1234YF. Daimler has been developing and pushing for a Carbon Dioxide refrigerant alternative. Here is a link to an article on Daimler’s site stating their favor of CO2.

CO2 Refrigerants?

Daimler in Development of CO2 Refrigerants.
Daimler in Development of CO2 Refrigerants.

Carbon Dioxide refrigerants have not seen high use in recent years but Daimler  has spent the past couple years developing a Carbon Dioxide alternative for their vehicles. CO2 refrigerants have a global warming potential of one and it is neither flammable or toxic. The downside of CO2 is that it has to be compressed at very high pressure and today’s air conditioners in vehicles cannot handle the CO2. Completely new air conditioning systems will have to be developed in order for automobiles to be able to take CO2 refrigerants. Daimler is working hard on using a CO2 alternative, but for now they are still using 134a instead of the new 1234yF.

Conclusion

The rest of the world will be using 1234YF while Daimler sticks with their 134A and developing a new CO2 alternative. But, who knows Daimler could be on to something here… is 1234YF dangerous, will Daimler be the savior of the industry with their new CO2 refrigerant and systems? Or, will Daimler be left behind while the world converts over to 1234YF?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

 

 

 

How do Refrigerants Impact Today's Environment?

How do Refrigerants Impact the Environment?

Before I can answer that question there is the need to point out that there are a variety of different classes of refrigerants that are on the market today throughout the world. I will be going over the top three classes at this point in time. One thing to note is that yes, refrigerants do cause damage to the O-Zone and they do contribute to global warming… but when you compare them to other global warming contributors you will be shocked at the minimal effect that refrigerants have on today’s environment.

For example, check out the below pie graph from the EPA’s website. Notice anything? I do. One percent. Fluorinated gases contribute just 1% to the greenhouse gas emissions throughout the world. (Keep in mind these are HFCs we are talking about.)

Refrigerant Greenhouse Gas Emissions (1% as F Gases)
Refrigerant Greenhouse Gas Emissions (1% as F Gases)

CFC or HCFCs

R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder
R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder

CFCs, or chloroflurocarbons, were the first refrigerants that saw mainstream use through the world. The first of it’s kind was R-12 that was invented in the early 20th century by General Motors & DuPont. It began widespread usage in the 1920s and was the primary refrigerant for all applications up until the 1950s. During the 50’s an alternative to R-12 called R-22 was introduced. R-22 was easier on the compressors and didn’t require as big of pipes to flow through. This made things easier and also resulted in less part failures.

The problem with R-12 and R-22 is the Chlorine. It was found that in the 1970s that the Earth’s O-Zone layer was depleting above the Arctic. The O-Zone layer is a layer in the Earth’s stratosphere which contains a high concentration of O-Zone. O-Zone is a naturally forming molecule that helps to absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It was found that Chlorine was a leading contributor to the depleting and cause to the hole in the O-Zone layer. A depleted O-Zone would mean more intense ultraviolet rays from the sun resulting in a variety of problems including Global Warming.

In 1987 the Montreal Protocol was announced. The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty across many countries designed to help combat the damaged O-Zone layer. One of it’s initiatives was to phase out CFCs in first world countries, and eventually throughout the world. In 1994 the United States discontinued R-12 in automotive applications. R-12 was replaced with the HFC alternative R-134a. R-134a does not contain Chlorine so it provided a solution to the O-Zone problem. In 2010, in compliance with the Montreal Protocol, the United States announced discontinuation of R-22 in future applications. All new machines would be orientated towards the new HFC R-410A. It’s the same story on this one as well, the 410A does not contain Chlorine.

Did the protocol work? In short, yes. The Montreal Protocol was a huge success throughout the world. It’s often regarded as the most successful international treaty to date. It is expected that the O-Zone layer will return to 1980 levels by the year 2045. But, something else was on the horizon…

HFCs

HFC Refrigerant being added to Montreal Protocol
HFCs being added into the Montreal Protocol? It may soon be a reality.

In response to the Montreal Protocol companies needed to find an alternative to the widely used CFCs R-12 and R-22. The answer was HFCs. HFCs include R-134a, R-410A, and R-404A. (There are others, but these are the most popular at this time.) The first mainstream use of HFCs began in 1994 when we switched from R-12 over to R-134a in automotive applications. Shortly after we switched from R-502 over to R-404A. Lastly, in 2010 we switched from R-22 over to the HFC R-410A, also known as Puron.

So, we can celebrate now! No more CFCs and Chlorine damaging the O-Zone, right? WRONG. Come to find out HFC refrigerants have a very high GWP, or Global Warming Potential. GWP basically means how much heat a certain product can trap into the atmosphere. For example, Carbon Dioxide has a GWP of 1 and the R-134a HFC refrigerant has a GWP of 1,430. Quite the difference here. A table of refrigerants and their global warming potential can be found by clicking this link to the EPA website. We have a completely new problem to deal with now. Keeping that in mind, I am going to refer to the pie chart that I posted earlier that illustrates that yes, refrigerants are putting greenhouse gases into the environment, but the significance is so small compared to the other offenders. 1%!!!!

Now instead of the O-Zone layer everybody is concerned about HFCs and the greenhouse gases that they are releasing. The European Union has already banned usage of R-134a in all new vehicles and the United States is not too far behind. There were a lot of ‘voluntary’ measures announced in 2014 by the Obama Administration. You can read about those by clicking here. On top of all that the three North American countries have submitted an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that would eventually phase-out all HFCs throughout the world just as the CFCs were done earlier. Nothing has been decided and added to the protocol at this time but it is only a matter of time before it is added. The main opposition countries have begun to make concessions and I feel that over the next year we will see HFCs added to the protocol. R-134a is on the way out and R-404A is being voluntarily phased out as well. R-410A will be coming soon.

HFO Refrigerants

1234YF Refrigerant & Refrigerant
HoneyWell’s Solstice 1234YF Private Brand

Third time’s a charm, right? Well, let’s hope so. To replace the HFCs that are slowly being phased out DuPont and HoneyWell have come out with a new class of refrigerants called HFOs. The first in it’s class is the 1234YF HFO. It is primary designed to replace R-134a. 134a has a GWP of 1,430 and the new 1234YF has a GWP of 4. This is obviously an improvement. HFO does not damage the O-Zone layer and it has a very low Global Warming Potential. The question is… what is going to go wrong with this one? There HAS to be another factor here that someone has not thought of. Don’t get me wrong I am all for having more efficient and cleaner refrigerant but at times it almost seems like we are running in circles chasing our tails. Either way DuPont and HoneyWell along with other companies are diving head into production and distribution of the new HFOs. Many automotive manufacturers have begun the switch as well.

Conclusion

Well, we went from damaged O-Zone layers to Global Warming Potential and Greenhouse Gases. Now we have the HFO alternatives coming to market with very little environmental detriments, or so we believe. Only the future can tell if HFOs are here to stay or if we will phase these out as well.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.