R-1234yf

R-1234yf

I read an article earlier this week on counterfeit 1234yf refrigerant being caught at a port in Poland. This refrigerant was no doubt bound for the Western European market. Polish authorities, in co-ordination with Honeywell, seized the counterfeit shipment and had it destroyed at the purchaser’s expense. As most of you know R-134a was phased out entirely in new vehicles within the European Union. While there was not a specific refrigerant chosen as a replacement most of the market moved towards this new HFO known as R-1234yf. It had a low Global Warming Potential, it had no Ozone Depletion Potential, and it was only slightly flammable. It seemed like the perfect solution.

This was great news to the big refrigerant manufacturers Honeywell and Chemours (DuPont). These two companies hold patents on 1234yf. This patent is not expiring anytime soon. In essence, these two companies have a monopoly on the automotive market within the European Union. There is an alternative refrigerant, CO2/R-744, that was developed by the German company Daimler… but it is still in it’s infancy stages and is not widely used in new models yet.


After writing this article I was informed that I was mistaken when it comes to the patents on 1234yf. There are various patents that are held on 1234yf and they fall into two categories. The first is known as the process patent and the other is known as the application patent.

The process patent is a patent on the recipe that is used to create HFO 1234yf. Honeywell holds a patent here, but there are other ways to create 1234yf. So, outside companies can produce 1234yf legally and hopefully come in at a competitive price point.

The application patents are just that. They are patents on the certain applications that 1234yf can be used in. Honeywell for example holds patents using 1234yf in automotive applications. So, while other companies can produce 1234yf we are still at a bottleneck with the application patents. The good news is that these may expire earlier then the 2030 date that I had mentioned earlier.


The price on R-1234yf is a whole other story. Typically, you could get a pound of R-134a for around three-dollars. This is what folks were used to and what they expected to pay if they needed an air conditioning repair. R-1234yf however is in a whole other ballpark. Your typical price per pound on this product could range from fifty to seventy dollars a pound.  That is nearly a two-thousand percent increase in price to businesses and customers.

So, now let’s look at this critically. We have a very high priced product, a product that is produced by a select few companies, and it is a product that EVERY vehicle within the European Union needs. I’m sorry folks, but these three points means that this is a prime candidate for counterfeit or fraudulent product to hit the market. This is just human nature. Yeah, there is a risk if these folks get caught but there is also a huge reward: profit. Think if this counterfeit product hits the market at twenty percent less then the genuine Honeywell/Chemours product. Customer gets a significant savings and the business behind it makes a killing.

In order to stop this fraudulent product Honeywell has been working with various governments within the European Union and even with China. There was a publicized incident last year in the Czech Republic where fraudulent 1234yf was found at a port. The year before Honeywell and the Chinese government prosecuted a person involved in the production and sale of counterfeit 1234yf. This individual received nine months in jail. There was another incident reported by the CoolingPost last month. This time a shipment was seized at a Polish port.

Most of this product either comes in to a Eastern European country’s port or it travels by road from China, into Turkey, into Bulgaria, and then to whatever western country they wish. Just like with previous counterfeit refrigerant, the product is coming from China. These are most likely the same guys who were producing counterfeit R-22 a few years back when R-22’s price had hit record highs. It was also the Chinese that was found to be violating the Montreal Protocol by still widely producing and using R-11. It is not a surprise that they are diving into the fraudulent HFO market.

Honeywell states that they are going after these fraudulent 1234yf products to protect consumers and to protect their equipment.  They may very well have the interests of protecting consumers but, in my opinion, all this is is Honeywell protecting their monopoly and aggressively going after anyone tries to infringe on their market. Whatever their motivations are they are going to have one hell of a game of whack-a-mole on their hands. The Chinese have been very lackadaisical when it comes to enforcing regulations and preventing illegal products from being manufactured and sold. For every company that Honeywell goes after another one will pop right back up.

Who knows folks, maybe this product is one-hundred percent clean and is made to the same specifications that Honeywell/Chemours have set forward. Even if it was though it would still be targeted and destroyed for patent infringement.  I won’t make a lot of friends by saying this, but I am not a fan of this monopoly. No two companies should control the entire automotive refrigerant market.

Conclusion

While we haven’t felt the pressure of this high priced HFO product here in the United States I can assure you folks that it is coming and it is coming sooner then you think. Earlier this year I did an article on the number of cars using 1234yf. The numbers were staggering. In 2019 nearly sixty percent of new vehicles use R-1234yf. In just a few years that number is expected to climb to ninety percent. R-134a is being phased out here in the United States as well and the only real alternative at this time is 1234yf.

This trend only really started to hit US automotive manufacturers back in 2015. Most automotive companies state that it takes an average of five to six years for a vehicle to need an HVAC repair. Next year is when we may really start to see that sticker shock when folks begin bringing in their vehicles for an air conditioning repair. We could have a simple compressor replacement and recharge price increase by hundreds of dollars.

Don’t get me wrong folks, I am not advocating for any illegal product. Frankly, it is not safe and you never truly know what you are getting. That being said, there definitely needs to be more competition introduced into the 1234yf marketplace.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

R-1234yf

The other day I was trying to find a comprehensive listing of which cars were using the newer R-1234yf HFO refrigerant. Over in Europe YF refrigerant is now the standard for all new vehicles. (In some cases R-744 is used as well.) R-134a is no longer used due to its high Global Warming Potential.

A few years back the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new SNAP Rule known as ‘Rule 20.’ This new rule stated that a lot of the most popular HFC refrigerants would no longer be acceptable in new applications. One of the refrigerants and applications listed was R-134a for all 2021 vehicle model years.  This all but dictated that automakers would have to use 1234yf in all of their new vehicles.

Well, as you all know, Rule 20 by the EPA was overturned by Federal Courts. The EPA had overreached their authority and had their proposed rules thrown back in their face. Having this rule thrown out left the future of R-134a uncertain. We all knew that 134a wasn’t going to be around forever. It did have a high GWP and it did need to go… but now there was no government mandate to do so.

Most everyone thought as the years passed by auto manufacturers would begin to switch to 1234yf without a government mandate. After all, it was the cleaner option and other states such as California and New York have begun to phase down HFC refrigerants.  It only made sense to protect yourself and make the switch over now.

Top Selling Cars in 2019

All that being said I was curious exactly what automakers and models of cars are now taking the HFO 1234yf refrigerant. How many of them are still holding onto the past? Since I couldn’t find an exact list I took a different approach.

I googled for a listing of the top selling cars of 2019. What I found was a listing of two-hundred cars from a website called ‘goodcarbadcar.net.’ The listing had sales volume, dollars, etc. I was only interested in the ranking though. What was the number one car sold, number two, etc.

Now that I had my listing I cut it down to the top fifty and then begin going to work. My goal here was to find out what refrigerant each of these 2019 model year cars were using.  Some of these were harder to find than others. In most cases I googled the year, make, model, and ‘owner’s manual.’ Usually I could find the manual and then find the refrigerant type in there.

In other cases I found the manual but the manufacturer kept the type of refrigerant a secret. In fact nearly anything to do with the air conditioning system was kept secret. The most I could find was to either ‘Check Under The Hood,’ for the refrigerant type, or to contact your dealer for maintenance questions. In these circumstances I Googled around a bit more and did my best to fill in the blanks.

The completed table can be found below. Overall, I couldn’t find the refrigerant type for eight vehicles. (If you know what they are please reach out to me and I will update the table.) But, for the others that I did find it painted a pretty clear picture of the refrigerant market today for new vehicles.

Let’s look at the facts first. For the top fifty selling cars in the United States only fifteen of them are still using R-134a. The other twenty-seven are using R-1234yf. Even if we give the missing ten cars the benefit of the doubt and state that they are all using R-134a we are still looking at over fifty percent market share of R-1234yf within the United States. Some folks will say as high as sixty or even seventy percent market share.

Even if it’s just fifty percent that is still a HUGE number and it is only going to continue to grow. Each year more and more auto manufacturers make the switch to 1234yf. You may have noticed that in the table some Makes have a mixture of R-134a and R-1234yf. This is most likely them testing the waters with YF. They want to see if everything works as it should before they go all in on YF.

RankMakeModelRefrigerant
1FordF-SeriesR-1234yf
2DodgeRam PickupR-1234yf
3ChevroletSilveradoR-1234yf
4NissanRogueR-134a
5ChevroletEquinoxR-1234yf
6HondaCR-VR-1234yf
7ToyotaRAV4R-1234yf
8ToyotaCamryR-1234yf
9ToyotaCorollaR-134a
10HondaCivicR-1234yf
11HondaAccordR-1234yf
12FordExplorerR-134a
13FordEscapeR-1234yf
14ToyotaTacomaR-1234yf
15JeepGrand CherokeeR-134a
16NissanSentraR-134a
17ToyotaHighlanderUnknown
18NissanAltimaR-1234yf
19JeepWranglerR-134a
20JeepCherokeeR-134a
21SubaruOutbackR-1234yf
22FordFusionR-1234yf
23SubaruForesterR-1234yf
24GMCSierraR-1234yf
25MazdaCX-5R-134a
26JeepCompassR-134a
27HyundaiElantraR-134a
28DodgeGrand CaravanR-134a
29ChevroletTraverseUnknown
30ChevroletMalibuR-1234yf
31ChevroletColoradoR-1234yf
32HondaPilotR-1234yf
33Toyota4RunnerUnknown
34FordTransitR-134a
35GMCAcadiaR-1234yf
36FordEdgeR-1234yf
37HyundaiTusconR-1234yf
38HyundaiSanta FeR-134a
39VolkswagenTiguanR-1234yf
40SubaruCrossTrekR-134a
41KiaSoulR-1234yf
42GMCTerrainUnknown
43ToyotaTundraUnknown
44NissanVersaR-134a
45BuickEncoreUnknown
46ChevroletTraxUnknown
47DodgeJourneyR-1234yf
48KiaSorentoR-1234yf
49LexusRXUnknown
50ChevroletCruzeR-1234yf

Conclusion

This table provides us with concrete evidence that R-1234yf is taking over the automotive market. If you haven’t come across it yet then I can assure that you will soon. From what I have read the average age of a vehicle that needs an air conditioner repair is between five to six years. So, at that fifty percent market share that we have today we could be looking at half of all vehicle AC repairs being done on YF systems by the year 2025.

R-134a is going the way of R-12. In another ten or fifteen years it’s going to be rare to find an 134a vehicle and when your vehicle does take R-134a you may have to pay a pretty penny to get a recharge. (Just look at how expensive R-12 is nowadays.) The only good news here folks is that there isn’t a mandatory phase out of R-134a yet… so the prices will still stay quite low for the foreseeable future.

The big problem that a lot of end users have with 1234yf is not that it’s a new refrigerant. No, the problem is the cost.  The cost of a pound of R-134a can hover between two to four dollars per pound. The cost of R-1234yf can hover between sixty to seventy dollars per pound. That’s nearly fifteen times more than the cost of R-134a. You can see an example of this cost from our Ebay partner by clicking here.

Because of this huge cost increase there has been a rash of end users manually converting their YF systems back over to R-134a. Hell, there is even an adapter out there for it… Rather these folks like it or not R-1234yf is here to stay and with each passing year the amount of vehicles using it is growing.

For more information on R-1234yf check out our ‘R-1234yf Refrigerant Fact Sheet,’ by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources:

RefrigerantHQ's Pressure Charts

The HFO R-1234yf is the refrigerant of the future. Or, at least, that is how it has been marketed. Yf was the first HFO refrigerant to see mainstream attention. A few years back there was immense pressure in the European Union to stop using the HFC R-134a for automotive air conditioning. The pressure was there due to the extremely high Global Warming Potential (GWP) that R-134a has. R-134a has a GWP of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty. It is classified as a super pollutant.

The answer to the world’s problems came with the announcement of the new HFO refrigerant known as R-1234yf. Yf refrigerant has a Global Warming Potential of only four. That is a huge difference when comparing it to other refrigerants on the market today. The only downside for yf is that it is rated as slightly flammable or 2L from ASHRAE and other air conditioning organizations.

The European Union quickly phased down and out R-134a and had their new vehicles start taking R-1234yf. While the acceptance of yf is much slower here in the United States there are numerous vehicle manufacturers who have begun using this refrigerant in their newer model vehicles. With each year that passes more and more vehicles begin taking yf.

To read more about 1234yf please click here to be taken to our official refrigerant fact sheet on yf.

1234yf Pressure Chart

One of the very first steps when it comes to diagnosing a vehicle’s air conditioner is understanding the temperature and the current pressure that your system is operating at. Having these facts along with the saturation point, the subcool, and the superheat  numbers for the refrigerant you are working on are essential when it comes to really understanding what is going wrong with your system.

The chart below details the pressures and the saturation point, or boiling point, R-1234yf:

°F °C PSI KPA
-94 -70 -9.82 -67.7
-90.4 -68 -9.26 -63.8
-86.8 -66 -8.65 -59.6
-83.2 -64 -7.99 -55.1
-79.6 -62 -7.27 -50.1
-76 -60 -6.49 -44.7
-72.4 -58 -5.65 -39.0
-68.8 -56 -4.73 -32.6
-65.2 -54 -3.75 -25.9
-61.6 -52 -2.69 -18.5
-58 -50 -1.55 -10.7
-54.4 -48 -0.33 -2.3
-50.8 -46 0.99 6.8
-47.2 -44 2.39 16.5
-43.6 -42 3.89 26.8
-40 -40 5.49 37.9
-36.4 -38 7.19 49.6
-32.8 -36 9.01 62.1
-29.2 -34 10.94 75.4
-25.6 -32 12.99 89.6
-22 -30 15.17 104.6
-18.4 -28 17.47 120.5
-14.8 -26 19.91 137.3
-11.2 -24 22.49 155.1
-7.6 -22 25.21 173.8
-4 -20 28.08 193.6
-0.4 -18 31.11 214.5
3.2 -16 34.29 236.4
6.8 -14 37.64 259.5
10.4 -12 41.17 283.9
14 -10 44.87 309.4
17.6 -8 48.75 336.1
21.2 -6 52.82 364.2
24.8 -4 57.09 393.6
28.4 -2 61.56 424.4
32 0 66.23 456.6
35.6 2 71.11 490.3
39.2 4 76.21 525.4
42.8 6 81.54 562.2
46.4 8 87.09 600.5
50 10 92.89 640.5
53.6 12 98.92 682.0
57.2 14 105.21 725.4
60.8 16 111.75 770.5
64.4 18 118.55 817.4
68 20 125.63 866.2
71.6 22 132.98 916.9
75.2 24 140.62 969.5
78.8 26 148.54 1024.1
82.4 28 156.77 1080.9
86 30 165.3 1139.7
89.6 32 174.15 1200.7
93.2 34 183.32 1263.9
96.8 36 192.82 1329.4
100.4 38 202.65 1397.2
104 40 212.85 1467.5
107.6 42 223.39 1540.2
111.2 44 234.29 1615.4
114.8 46 245.57 1693.1
118.4 48 257.24 1773.6
122 50 269.31 1856.8
125.6 52 281.76 1942.7
129.2 54 94.75 653.3
132.8 56 100.09 690.1
136.4 58 105.62 728.2
140 60 111.34 767.7
143.6 62 117.26 808.5
147.2 64 123.38 850.7
150.8 66 129.71 894.3
154.4 68 136.26 939.5
158 70 143 986.0

 

Conclusion

There you have it folks. I hope this article was helpful and if you find that something is inaccurate here in my chart please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I have sourced this the best I could but there is always going to be conflicting data.  I’ve seen it multiple times on various refrigerants. I’ll search for a refrigerant’s pressure chart and get various results all showing different pounds per square inch temperatures.

The aim with this article is to give you accurate information so again, if you see anything incorrect please let me know by contacting me here. On top of this post we are also working on a comprehensive refrigerant pressure/temperature listing. The goal is to have every refrigerant out there listed with a pressure/temperature chart that is easily available. 

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Owner