German transport experts warn against risks from new chemical refrigerant 1234yf in car air conditioning

Mittwoch, 03.12.2008

Invitation to Press Conference

Dear Madam or Sir,

Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. (DUH) is a well-established environmental and consumer protection non-governmental organisation in Germany. Mostly active in the transport sector, the DUH is advocating the use of natural refrigerants.
Mobile Air-Conditioning systems (MAC) are climate killers because of polluting refrigerants. For the moment, the refrigerant R134a is massively used in systems around the world. From 2011 this refrigerant will be forbidden in Europe because of the high global warming potential. R134a is 1400 times more climate damaging than using CO2 as a refrigerant. Currently there is a global battle regarding alternatives to replace R134a. The Automotive Industry in the US, Europe and Japan wants a chemical replacement. Car manufacturers worldwide insist on developing the new refrigerant 1234yf, clearly due to cost reasons.

Concerned about the environment and the health of drivers and emergency service people, the DUH and Dr. Axel Friedrich, transport expert and former head of the division “Transport and Noise” in the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), tested the new chemical refrigerant 1234yf. Results were dramatic: the refrigerant 1234yf is flammable and ignites quickly. Highly toxic decomposition products resulted from the ignition, which represents a deadly threat to car passengers and rescue personnel.
German car manufacturers, such as Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen, have also tested the chemical refrigerant and confirm the DUH findings. As a result, these car manufacturers have dissociated themselves from this refrigerant proposed by US chemical companies Honeywell and DuPont. Furthermore, they announced that 1234yf would be “no option” for use in German cars.

What is the position of US American car manufacturers on this issue and which global consequences will have the choice of a future refrigerant? We will address all these issues and want to disclose alternatives to R134a. To illustrate the main findings from our tests we have composed a short video documentary to be broadcast at the press conference, and to be put at your disposal. We are looking forward to welcome you at the press conference in Sacramento:

Date:       Monday, 8th of December 2008, at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown Sacramento at Capitol Park,  

                1121 15th Street Sacramento, CA 95814

Participants:  Jürgen Resch, CEO Deutsche Umwelhilfe e.V. and 
                      Dr. Axel Friedrich, Transport Expert

For more information please contact Dr. Axel Friedrich: +49 152 294 838 57 or Jürgen Resch: +49 171 364 9170.

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