Car coolant rejected by Daimler is safe: EU scientists


EU scientists have found that the new car coolant at the centre of a dispute that has pitched regulators against Germany and its luxury carmaker Daimler does not pose any serious safety risks, the European Commission said on Friday.

The European Commission has launched legal proceedings against Germany over Daimler's refusal to stop using an old-style coolant that has global warming potential more than 1,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.

The suggested substitute, which has roughly the same impact as carbon dioxide, is the R1234yf coolant developed by US conglomerate Honeywell, in partnership with Dupont.

Daimler says that the substitute can emit a toxic gas when it burns, but its refusal to use the product has placed it in breach of an EU law that requires new cars to use coolants with a global warming potential no more than 150 times that of carbon dioxide.

In what it described as "a confidence-building measure", the Commission asked the Joint Research Council (JRC), set up to provide impartial scientific advice for policymakers, to carry out a new assessment of R1234yf.

"There is no evidence of a serious risk in the use of this refrigerant in mobile air-conditioning systems under normal and foreseeable conditions of use," the JRC concluded in its report published on Friday (7 March).

Daimler issued a statement saying that the research was "too restrictive". The carmaker said that its preferred option is to develop air-conditioning systems that use carbon dioxide as a refrigerant. Development of such a system, however, could take years.

Honeywell and Dupont both welcomed the JRC's findings. Honeywell said there are now more than 500,000 cars using R1234yf. The number is expected to reach more than two million by the end of this year.


“The JRC’s independent and unimpeachable report leaves no doubt that HFO-1234yf is safe for automotive applications,” said Ken Gayer, vice president and general manager for Honeywell Fluorine Products, saying the assessment marked "the final word" on the safety of the product.

“We continue to see strong adoption by global automakers of this new refrigerant as they work to meet new environmental regulation, especially in Europe, and are investing in production capacity to ensure adequate supply,” Gayer said in a statement.

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Mats Jangdal's picture

Since there are no greenhouse gasses the old refrigerants (a more accurate name than coolant, I believe) that are now forbidden would actually work better since they are more efficient and requires less energy to run properly.
The science has known at least since 2003 through Hans Jelbrings research that gasses greenhouse effect in the atmosphere can be attributed only to the gravitational density of the gases. What gasses making up the blend of the atmosphere does not matter, only the gravitational density.

Jennifer's picture

Hi friends,as technology is playing the foremost role in all sectors so as to scientist are researching new thing to implement in auto mobile sector also.So sometimes it give bad impact as well as good impact,but whenever it giving any impact that's is not good for new luxury cars like BMW or Mini cars like Mini cooper etc they are trying to fix it or rearrange it in different way.So here we have some responsibility towards our cars like Mini cooper to give proper servicing so as to avoid the accidental loss.

Filax's picture

the JRC report treats only safety aspects. Ecotoxicolgical aspects are omitted. 1234yf is transformed in the atmosphere in tetrafluoroacetic acid (TFA). TFA is one of the most stable artificial molecule. No decomposition mechanism is known and it accumulates in the environment. TFA is a phytotoxic substance. It is absent in natural fresh water. Its presence in seawater is proven, but it's origin is not clear. Unhomogenous concentations in the ocean suggest a man made origin, while the total quantitiy of the substance suggest a natural, probably volcanic origin. Its industrial use before the origin and the ecotoxicologic propoerties are well known, is in contradiction with the priciple of precaution.

Grunchard's picture

The TFA issue raised by Filax is well known. E ventually, recent studies concluded that the estimated maximum concentration of TFA in surface water was approximately 60 to 80 times smaller than that of the NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level) for aquatic ecotoxicity.

R1234yf has a exposure limit of 500 or 1,500 ppm, which is considered as safe. On the other hand CO2, at concentrations above 10% may cause fatalities due to the lack of oxygen uptake potentially leading to suffocation and asphyxia. In which of these facts should the principle of precaution be raised ?

ajobalorel's picture

You can find the car coolant or AC in every vehicle now a day and it is one of the necessary part i n every car. But if you are staying in a cooled area where all the time then what is the need of AC here. So the people from those areas demanding to remove AC from the car.As well as it arises a toxic gas that hampers the body parts too. Suppose you went to such place with your old car in which Ac is present but you don't want that then better remove it for that you better to visit any repairing center.