The R-1234yf Transition is coming to Dealerships and Service Bays – By the Millions

November 30, 2016

In the automobile world, R-134a is on its way out and the new refrigerant in dealerships is R-1234yf. According to Honeywell, which manufactures Solstice™ 1234yf, this HFO refrigerant has a GWP potential of less than 1, making it less than the effect of carbon dioxide on global warming.

HFCs, in this case, R-134a, have a 1,400X impact on global warming, demonstrating that R-1234yf is much more environmentally friendly than R-134a. R-1234yf had some initial controversy. Daimler Benz raised concerns about the new refrigerant because of supposed flammability concerns, but the company is now manufacturing cars containing R-1234yf.

Toyota and other European manufacturers are also importing and manufacturing cars in the U.S. that also contain R-1234yf. Chemours predicts that globally in 2017, 40 million vehicles will use 1234yf. According to a New York Times article republished in the Seattle Times, “SAE International, an engineering consortium that includes all the major automakers, said R-1234yf was ‘highly unlikely to ignite.'”

The Joint Research Center of the European Union has also said there was “no evidence of a serious risk.” R-1234yf has gained regulatory approval in the U.S. and Europe.

So are there risks? Perhaps. Eric Shultz, engineering manager for MAHLE Service Solutions, in an article in Aftermarket Magazine, says that technicians should be aware of several items when working with R-1234yf. He pointed out that vehicles with R-1234yf have different service fittings to prevent cross contamination. He added that with R-1234yf being mildly flammable, technicians should take extra care when handling it. He also noted that servicing vehicles with R-1234yf will take longer than those with R-134a. Airgas Refrigerants is not making any recommendations regarding R-1234yf care and handling but is reporting this news on our website to keep readers aware of refrigerant industry changes and information.