Servicing R-1234yf Mobile A/C Systems-A MACS Whitepaper


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 Download the MACS whitepaper  on Servicing R-1234yf Mobile Air Conditioning Systems, all the service and repair information you need to know. Revised 11/17/16

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

Posted in #1234yf, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants | Leave a comment

Changing regulations is no simple matter


By Keith Leonard, ESQ

Regulations play an integral role in all of our lives. It is impossible to imagine driving a vehicle without regulations governing driving behavior. Without such regulations, every time you drive could, perhaps be, an accident waiting to happen.

In an effort to attract pro-business support for their candidacy, presidential candidates promise to repeal, suspend or otherwise reduce the regulations, which they suggest are burdensome to business, or simply do not like. However, such promises show a lack of understanding of the separation of powers doctrine in the United States Constitution; with an executive, a legislative and a judicial branch of our government. A president does not have unqualified power to either regulate or deregulate.

Executive branch agencies can only issue regulations pursuant to laws passed by Congress. For example, the Americans with Disability Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101, et seq. (the “ADA”) was adopted into law on July 26, 1990. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 12112, “the Commission [the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – the “EEOC”] shall issue regulations in an accessible format to carry out this subchapter [of the ADA]”, and the EEOC was to do so within one year. Thus, the EECO was required to propose and adopt regulations carrying out the Congressional purposes identified in the ADA. Federal regulations are therefore not prepared in a vacuum and are not created for the sake of producing more regulations.

While a president can suspend the effective date of some regulations (those which have not yet gone into effect by the time the new president takes the oath of office) in an effort to begin a regulatory process to repeal the regulation, this action impacts only a small number of regulations. For regulations adopted within a distinct time period, the president can ask Congress to invoke its powers under the Congressional Review Act (the “CRA”). Under the CRA, Congress is permitted to bypass filibusters in the Senate to overturn recently issued regulations. The Senate may use the procedure provided for in the CRA for a maximum of sixty days of its session after the agency transmits the rule to Congress. A disapproval resolution must be submitted within 60 days after Congress receives the rule, exclusive of recess periods, in order to qualify for expedited consideration by the Senate (the House of Representatives would consider any disapproval resolution under its own procedures, not the expedited one under the CRA). Thus, in such a situation (seeking disapproval under the CRA), the new president can ask Congress to pass a law overturning potential regulations, but this requires a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. However, should a disapproval resolution be enacted by Congress, the rule may not take effect and the agency cannot issue a substantially similar rule without subsequent statutory authorization.

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The foregoing CRA procedure can even be used to try to disapprove a rule which has already gone into effect, provided the rule is a “major rule”. A “major rule” is “any rule that the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget finds has resulted in or is likely to result in—  (A) an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; (B) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or (C) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets. The term does not include any rule promulgated under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the amendments made by that Act.” 5 U.S.C. Section 804(2).

Another option where the new president opposes certain regulations is to instead hope that the regulations will be overturned by the courts, if such regulations are so challenged. A third option is the new president can use the regulatory process to reverse previous regulations, but this will take years and will also be subject to potential legal challenges in the courts.

It is therefore important to consider each candidate’s regulatory priorities. Voters can expect that a Democratic president will issue more regulations with higher costs and more stringent protections of the environment and public health than a Republican president. However, any promises of unqualified deregulation are largely only rhetoric.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in ACtion Magazine, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Retrofitting R-1234yf mobile air conditioning systems is prohibited


By Ward Atkinson and Bill Hill

 Note: The information in this article is the current overview as collected by Ward Atkinson and Bill Hill from industry and regulatory sources. It is not intended to provide all possible issues covering any system modifications and operation or servicing of production R-1234yf mobile air conditioning systems.

The following provides some information on legal and technical issues regarding using a lower cost refrigerant to replace R-1234yf in mobile air conditioning systems.

The Clean Air Act prohibits changing the refrigerant in a system designed to use R-1234yf to any other refrigerant, including R-134a.

Regulatory issues

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 The EPA staff has explained at various SAE International forums that topping off/filling a vehicle system designed for R-1234yf, which has received emission credits, with any refrigerant other than R-1234yf, is considered “tampering with a vehicle emissions-control device.” This is a violation of Section 203 of the Clean Air Act.

The SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy) program has listed three alternative refrigerants with a lower global warming potential as acceptable for use in MAC (Mobile Air Conditioning) systems with some use restrictions. These include R-1234yf, R-152a, and R-744. R-134a will be available, in the future, for servicing the existing R-134a fleet, but cannot be used to service R-1234yf systems.

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The SNAP listings for all MAC refrigerants are subject to the use condition of unique fittings for each refrigerant. The purpose of these fittings is to prevent cross-contamination. Using an adapter or deliberately modifying a fitting to use a different refrigerant is a violation of these use conditions. (See Appendix D to 40 CFR part 82, subpart G.) If used properly, the unique fittings will not allow for the introduction of HFC-134a refrigerant to an HFO-1234yf system. The final rule (Rule #20) is available at: https://www.epa.gov/snap/snap-regulations#Rules.

The SNAP July 2015 final rule (80 FR 42953) states that “HFC-134a is listed, and will remain listed, as an acceptable refrigerant for retrofit of existing systems designed to use CFC-12, but because of the use restrictions for refrigerants listed as acceptable, it cannot be used as a retrofit for MAC systems using other alternatives.” For more information, see https://www.epa.gov/snap/motor-vehicle-air-conditioning.

Currently there are many new light-duty vehicles using R-1234yf, since the EPA has allowed manufacturers to apply credits from the use of lower global warming refrigerants toward the CO2 emissions and fuel economy standards. Use of another refrigerant (Including R-134a), due to the refrigerant circuit control calibrations, will cause the system to operate differently than it did in the design certified vehicle using R-1234yf.

Clean Air Act Section 203(a)(3)(A):

“The following acts and the causing thereof are prohibited …for any person to remove or render inoperative any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine in compliance with regulations under this subchapter prior to its sale and delivery to the ultimate purchaser, or for any person knowingly to remove or render inoperative any such device or element of design after such sale and delivery to the ultimate purchaser;”

In an EPA vehicle emissions enforcement letter, dated January 14, 1993, the Office of Air and Radiation in the CIVIL PENALTY POLICY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS issued the following:

“A. Statutory Penalties “

Tampering Under section 205 of the Act, any manufacturer or dealer who violates the tampering prohibition, (3)(A), is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 per violation. Any person other than a manufacturer or dealer who violates the tampering prohibition is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per violation. Any such violation with respect to the tampering prohibition constitutes a separate offense with respect to each motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine.

Defeat Device Under section 205 of the Act, any person who violates the defeat device prohibition, (3) (Bl), is subject to a maximum civil penalty of $2,500 per violation. Any such violation with respect constitutes a separate component.”

It should also be noted that since the 1993 letter the Statutory Penalties for “Tampering” have increased from $25,000 to the current penalty of $37,500 for a manufacturer or dealer.  A 2016 proposal that is now in the interim final rule stage would increase this to $44,539. The penalty for a “Defeat Device” for an individual was $2,500 per violation and would increase to $4,454.

See https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/07/01/2016-15411/civil-monetary-penalty-inflation-adjustment-rule.

System cooling performance

There are several design issues between the two refrigerants that may affect maximum cooling performance. Since no information on the exchange of system refrigerant has been released by vehicle manufacturers, there is no information on what may be encountered with a refrigerant change. This may include issues related to cooling performance and durability.

Refrigerant flow devices

The expansion valve setting for R-1234yf refrigerant is different compared to R-134a. Changing from R-1234yf to R-134a refrigerant may result in a system with incorrect refrigerant flow and heat exchanger mal-distribution which may cause a loss of cooling performance or durability concerns.

The TXV setting is also different when an Internal Heat Exchanger (IHX) is used, which is common in R-1234yf MAC systems. This may mean that suction line pressure drop is increased, which might affect the setting for a pressure controlled compressor, resulting in poor cooling or evaporator core freezing.

This can be particularly damaging in the case of dual evaporator systems where the balance of front and rear expansion devices helps to avoid oil trapping in the rear evaporator.

Evaporator control

Evaporator control settings are important both for maximum performance and reduced load requirements at cooler ambient. Depending upon the method of control for maximum cooling performance (pressure or temperature control), different settings may be required when changing the refrigerant.

Refrigerant pressure control of the compressor with either cycling compressors or variable displacement compressors is affected by the refrigerant used in the system. Systems that use air temperature sensing for controlling the evaporator may not be affected by changing from R-1234yf to R-134a.

R-1234yf systems that control freeze protection by pressure may encounter loss of cooling performance if charged with 100% R-134a. This is due to the requirement of R-134a to have a lower setting of 3.3 psig to achieve freeze protection at 32 F. This may result in a 4-degree F. (2.2C.) warmer outlet air temperature.

The mixing of R-134a with R-1234yf will change refrigerant pressure and may result in evaporator freeze-up on pressure control systems, reducing system airflow.

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If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

Posted in #1234yf, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A good news story for veteran’s day!


Longtime MACS member Jim Atkinson of Car Repair Company, Scottsdale, AZ worked with the Southwest Auto Foundation to help a U.S. veteran and his family receive reliable transportation.

Iraq veteran Scott Farnsworth returned from active duty and purchased a Ford Expedition from another vet after about a month it falls into major disrepair when an engine bearing fails.

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Ted Lukaszek of the Southwest Auto Foundation finds out about Farnsworth’s plight and in turn contacts Jim Atkinson. One of Jim’s customers donates their car after a timing chain failure. Jim donates 14 hours in labor to get the donation car, a 1998 Nissan Altima in tip-top shape to donate to the Farnsworth family including a full vehicle detail.

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Jim and his wife Patricka and Ted spend a Saturday driving 70 miles to Santan Valley, AZ to deliver the car and to retrieve Farnsworth’s old car for donation. A happy ending is achieved.

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If you’d like more information about helping vets in Arizona or the Southwest Auto Foundation contact Jim Atkinson at jimatkinson@carrepairco.com

 

 

Posted in Automotive, Mobile Air Conditioning, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Read all about it! November/December ACTION has a lot of information for you


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Inside the November-December 2016 issue of MACS ACTION Magazine:

The MACS 2017 Training Event Training classes

California here we come

Retrofitting R-1234yf mobile A/C systems is prohibited

MACS 2017 Trade Show Exhibitors

New Products and Services 

Download the entire issue!

Posted in ACtion Magazine, MACS Member, MACS Training Event, Mobile Air Conditioning, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MACS mobile A/C field service study 2016


MACS has tracked the mobile air conditioning field service experience for many years to identify trends that may assist members to align their business with current developments and plan for future changes.

The most recent survey conducted by MACS sought to gather information about the number and types of A/C services and repairs during a 60-day period (May 1 through end of June). Respondents were asked to summarize their shops’ repair activities to create the general service profile. The data collected represented shop owners’ estimates, so it should only be used as a general indication of trends.

Following are just a few observations based on the collected estimates:

  • The estimated average number of vehicles with A/C complaints serviced, per facility, during the subject two-month period was 119.
  • The number of vehicles serviced within specific vintage ranges were estimated as:
    • 1 – 5 years old: 12%
    • 6 – 10 years old: 42%
    • 11 – 15 years old: 34%
    • 16+ years old: 12%
  • The number of vehicles serviced within specific mileage ranges were estimated as:
    • Less than 10,000 miles: 6%
    • 11,000 – 50,000 miles: 9%
    • 51,000 – 100,000 miles: 26%
    • 101,000 – 150,000 miles: 26%
    • 151,000+ miles: 33%
  • Almost 80% of service activity involved the refrigerant circuit.
  • Identifying refrigerant leaks is requiring both electronic leak detectors and trace dye.
  • The current service facility refrigerant usage estimates are 5% R-12, 95% R-134a and less than 1% R-1234yf.
  • Approximately 8.6% of the surveyed fleet had contaminated systems. Contamination from excess air was must common (50% of contaminated systems), with the remaining contamination of systems unidentified (except for hydrocarbons).
  • Fifty-three percent of the poor cooling complaints were due to a low refrigerant charge, and 23.5% were component failures resulting in a complete loss of system refrigerant.
  • Sixty-eight percent of facilities reported adding lubricant at time of service. The amount averaged 2.4 ounces. (The factory lubricant charge in today’s compressors, in many cases, is only 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

Note: Some question whether legacy standards for the amount of oil to be added for component replacement are still valid, given that current systems use less lubricant and there are some compressor designs that retain the lubricant reducing the amount in circulation.

  • None of the respondents reported that they install performance or sealer additives.

The full report is available on the MACS website to MACS members only. Not a MACS member yet? Join us now or call 215-631-7020 x 0.

Posted in ACtion Magazine, Automotive training, Environmental Protection Agency, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping the facts straight on R-1234yf


Whenever something new happens in our industry there can be misinformation. To make sure you are receiving accurate information on what is happening with R-1234yf stay in touch with news from the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide.

Here is a recent MACS interview with an expert from Honeywell on R-1234yf:

By Steve Schaeber, MACS manager of service training

Rick Winick, Business Director, leads the Honeywell Fluorine Products Automotive Refrigerants segment. Rick and his team work to ensure global automotive OEM and aftermarket customers can turn to Honeywell as their long-term supplier to meet their need for near drop-in, low-global-warming-potential (LGWP) refrigerants. Under Rick’s direction, the Automotive Refrigerants team collaborates with customers throughout the implementation process—from beginning to end—to be certain the refrigerants Honeywell develops can be easily and economically adapted by global customers, allowing vehicle and equipment manufacturers to meet current and future environmental regulations.

MACS recently had another opportunity to ask Honeywell a few questions, and we’re sharing the conversation with our members. I asked Rick about the ongoing rollout of R-1234yf refrigerant, and what’s going on with regulations and Heavy Duty A/C.

  1. MACS: Are small cans of R-1234yf being manufactured and/or sold at this time? Has a submission been made / approved by US EPA regarding a unique fitting for small cans of R-1234yf?

Honeywell: No, small cans have not yet been approved by the EPA. Specifically, a SNAP application needs to be submitted and approved.

  1. MACS: When produced, will small cans of R-1234yf be equipped with self-sealing valves?

Honeywell: The EPA has addressed this as a part of the proposed Section 608 modifications. We believe that any application for the small cans should be aligned with the EPA’s requirements and will work to ensure Solstice yf complies with those requirements, while providing optimal performance for customers.

  1. MACS: What is Honeywell’s position regarding EPA’s proposed rule to extend the ODS sales restriction to include all mobile A/C refrigerants?

Honeywell: Honeywell supports efforts to reduce emissions of all refrigerants through training and proper services practices.

2017 Malibus with R-1234yf use 0.600 kg (kilograms) of the gas, equivalent to 1.32 pounds (21.16 ounces). Not used to seeing kg on an A/C label? You should be! Grams (or kilograms to three decimal places), is the official unit of measure called for in the SAE J639 Standard which requires the label to be there. Manufacturers are allowed to include other units as well like pounds, ounces or cc, but must list the proper amount in g or kg.

2017 Malibus with R-1234yf use 0.600 kg (kilograms) of the gas, equivalent to 1.32 pounds (21.16 ounces). Not used to seeing kg on an A/C label? You should be! Grams (or kilograms to three decimal places), is the official unit of measure called for in the SAE J639 Standard which requires the label to be there. Manufacturers are allowed to include other units as well like pounds, ounces or cc, but must list the proper amount in g or kg.

  1. MACS: What special considerations must be made by shops regarding the storage of a single cylinder of R-1234yf refrigerant?

 

Honeywell: NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association) has recommended practices for storing flammable compressed gases. Local regulations generally adopt the NFPA recommended practices. Some, however, may implement more stringent standards. All businesses storing or handling R-1234yf should consult a local regulatory expert on facility design and acceptable practices related to the occupancy class limitations for their operations and businesses.

  1. MACS: Are there any further considerations necessary for the storage of more than one cylinder, such as a special storage cabinet?

Honeywell: The regulations are not generally related to the number of cylinders but rather the total volume stored in a specific area of the building. The total volume stored dictates the occupancy classification and the requirements. NFPA standards should be referenced along with local building codes.

  1. MACS: What concerns, if any, are associated with using R-134a in a vehicle originally designed to use R-1234yf? For example, what would happen if R-134a was used to “top off” a vehicle which already contains R-1234yf?

Honeywell: Vehicles and their A/C systems are optimized and validated with a specific refrigerant. Filling a system with a refrigerant different from the original can lead to a sub-optimal cooling performance, as well as potential incompatibilities with the materials, as the refrigerant/oil combination is optimized around the material system selected. Additionally, replacing a low-GWP refrigerant with a higher-GWP alternative is considered by the EPA to be tampering with an emissions control device and is in violation of the Clean Air Act. We strongly recommend that technicians and vehicle owners follow the refrigerant servicing recommendations listed in their vehicle owner’s manual.

 

  1. MACS: What progress has been made regarding the use of R-1234yf in medium-duty trucks (Classes 2b and 3)?Has EPA finalized their proposed rule regarding medium duty trucks?

 

Honeywell: The risk assessment evaluated for light duty vehicles is being expanded for use in the medium-duty truck classes 2b and 3. The rule is not yet finalized, but is being discussed by the EPA and has reached the comment phase. The EPA is optimistic that a regulation/CAFE credit system can be reached by the end of 2016.

 

  1. MACS: Going forward, are there any plans to approve the use of R-1234yf in larger vehicles (Class 4 and up)?

 

Honeywell: The use of R-1234yf in heavy duty vehicles is assumed to be the next phase after classes 2b and 3. Due to their different HVAC architectures and larger refrigerant charge sizes, however, this will require a new risk assessment to gauge the risk of R-1234yf in everyday use, consistent with the risk assessment conducted for light duty vehicles.

 

  1. MACS: Has Canada finalized their R-1234yf regulations?

 

Honeywell: In terms of environmental regulations, yes, yf is approved for import, sale and usage in Canada.

 

  1. MACS: Apparently hydrocarbon refrigerants are legal to sell in many parts of Canada. What if someone there decided to replace R-1234yf with a hydrocarbon refrigerant? Is that legal in Canada?

 

Honeywell: There are no specific laws regarding replacing one refrigerant with another. It is illegal to mix—or top off—two or more refrigerants in one system. In addition to the legal implications, this is a safety issue. Vehicles and their air conditioning systems are optimized and validated with a specific refrigerant. Filling a system with a refrigerant different from how it was originally filled can lead to a sub-optimal cooling performance. In addition, there could be incompatibilities with the materials, as the refrigerant/oil combination is optimized around the material system that was selected. Plus, there is the increased risk of using a more flammable hydrocarbon in a system that was designed for a mildly flammable A2L refrigerant.

 

  1. MACS: We’ve seen several vehicle models during the past few years with A/C hoses indicating compatibility with both R-134a and R-1234yf. Are major changes in hose design or construction required to make these hoses compatible with R-1234yf?

 

Honeywell: SAE standards are in place that require A/C hose manufacturers to validate their hoses for the intended refrigerant(s) and they must be marked to indicate which refrigerant(s) were used. Some hoses might meet validation standards for more than one refrigerant. One of the major differences between hoses for R-134a and hoses for R-1234yf are the charging ports. SAE standards dictate that the charge port fittings be different and unique for the different refrigerants.

 

  1. MACS: Are there concerns about technicians misinterpreting these hose markings to mean that these A/C systems can be filled with either R-134a or R-1234yf?

 

Honeywell: Each vehicle is clearly marked with an under-hood sticker showing refrigerant and oil has been used. The SAE implemented this standard years ago, requiring OEMs to place an easily visible sticker under the hood, listing the refrigerant required in the vehicle. It should be obvious to anyone repairing the A/C system which refrigerant should be used in the vehicle. Hose standards or markings are not currently—nor have they historically been—the indication used by technicians to determine the refrigerant used in the vehicle. In addition the charge ports in the vehicle are designed to be used with either one refrigerant or the other (1234yf or 134a). Hose markings are not a way to determine which refrigerant to use with the system.

Note: Keep in touch with MACS at www.macsw.org to stay on top of the ever-changing world of mobile A/C!

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Countries Agree to curb powerful greenhouse gases in largest climate breakthrough since Paris


The amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer endorsed in Kigali is the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference last year.

“Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are following through on that promise,” said UN Environment chief Erik Solheim. “This is about much more than the ozone layer and HFCs. It is a clear statement by all world leaders that the green transformation started in Paris is irreversible and unstoppable. It shows the best investments are those in clean, efficient technologies.”

Commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are currently the world’s fastest growing greenhouse gases, their emissions increasing by up to 10 per cent each year. They are also one of the most powerful, trapping thousands of times more heat in the Earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).

“The faster we act, the lower the financial costs will be, and the lighter the environmental burden on our children,” said President of Rwanda Paul Kagame. “That begins with a clear signal that change is coming and it is coming soon. In due course, new innovations and products will allow us to phase out HFCs even faster, and at lower cost.”

The rapid growth of HFCs in recent years has been driven by a growing demand for cooling, particularly in developing countries with a fast-expanding middle class and hot climates. The Kigali amendment provides for exemptions for countries with high ambient temperatures to phase down HFCs at a slower pace.

“It is not often you get a chance to have a 0.5-degree centigrade reduction by taking one single step together as countries – each doing different things perhaps at different times, but getting the job done,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry. “If we continue to remember the high stakes for every country on Earth, the global transition to a clean energy economy is going to accelerate.”

Phase down schedule Following seven years of negotiations, the 197 Montreal Protocol parties reached a compromise, under which developed countries will start to phase down HFCs by 2019. Developing countries will follow with a freeze of HFCs consumption levels in 2024, with some countries freezing consumption in 2028. By the late 2040s, all countries are expected to consume no more than 15-20 per cent of their respective baselines.

Financing and alternatives to HFCs Countries also agreed to provide adequate financing for HFCs reduction, the cost of which is estimated at billions of dollars globally. The exact amount of additional funding will be agreed at the next Meeting of the Parties in Montreal, in 2017.

Grants for research and development of affordable alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons will be the most immediate priority. Alternatives to HFCs currently being explored include substances that do not deplete the ozone layer and have a smaller impact on the climate, such as ammonia or carbon dioxide. Super-efficient, cost effective cooling technologies are also being developed, which can help protect the climate both through reducing HFCs emissions and by using less energy. The Kigali Amendment comes only days after two other climate action milestones: sealing the international deal to curb emissions from aviation and achieving the critical mass of ratifications for the Paris climate accord to enter into force

Posted in #1234yf, Environmental Protection Agency, MACS Member, MACS Training Event, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MACS Section 609 Certification Test Class-Wed. Nov 9


More and more cars are being produced with R-1234yf. Do you know how to safely and legally handle the refrigerant? Take the time to learn at MACS Section 609 certification class

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Wednesday, November 9 at 3pm at MACS Training Center

225 South Broad Street

Lansdale, PA 19446

Test and class $30.

Register online at MACS website or register by phone by calling the MACS office at

215-631-7020 x 0.

Can’t make this class? Find out how you can order an online test or home study test when you click here.

 

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Chevrolet Malibu keeps you cool with R-1234yf


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

GM was the first manufacturer to sell a vehicle in the United States that uses the new R-1234yf refrigerant when they came out with the Cadillac XTS in 2012 as a 2013 model. Since then we haven’t seen a whole lot of cars being filled with the gas, except for certain FCA (Chrysler) products over the past few years.  Things are starting to change this year however, as 2016 is proving to be the start of an industry-wide change over to the more environmentally friendly fluid with more brands using it in more vehicles than ever before.

2017 Chevrolet Malibu

The new 2017 Chevrolet Malibu is being filled with refrigerant 1234yf, which has a GWP (global warming potential) of just 4, as compared with the previous refrigerant 134a, which carries a GWP of 1,430. What does this all mean? For comparison, CO2 is used as the baseline and carries a GWP of 1, so in basic terms, R-134a is 1,430 times more of a global warming gas than is CO2.

 

We’ve been anticipating this change too, as industry insiders have said that since EPA passed Rule # 20 last summer, which outlaws the use of R-134a in new vehicles beginning with the 2021 model year, that car makers would begin to change over their fleet to the new gas when they introduce new vehicle platforms. That’s exactly what happened with the MY2017 Chevrolet Malibu, the 9th generation of one of GM’s most popular cars.

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A quick glance under the hood, and you don’t see anything that stands out making the 2017 Malibu A/C system any different than previous models; that is, until you take a closer look.

MACS first saw the new E2XX platform Malibu at its unveiling in New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at the 2015 NY Auto Show, but at that time it was still using R-134a. We checked again at the 2016 Philadelphia Auto Show, and sure enough it still had HFCs. But we were told to expect a change this summer, and we were happy to find R-1234yf in the 2017s when we visited Bergey’s Chevrolet in Colmar, our local dealer here in PA. They had just started getting the new models in late August, and by the time we stopped by there were about 10 on the lot.

 

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Besides the J639 label, service ports and caps, these cars now use an IHX (inline heat exchanger) to help boost the performance of the new refrigerant. Previous models of Malibu that still used R-134a didn’t have this extra component, which is required in many applications with yf, but certainly not all. Many trucks or larger vehicles that have room in the front of the vehicle can afford to utilize their additional space and incorporate a much larger condenser to help transfer heat. Lower profile vehicles however may need the extra boost that an IHX provides.

 

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2017 Malibus with R-1234yf use 0.600 kg (kilograms) of the gas, equivalent to 1.32 pounds (21.16 ounces). Not used to seeing kg on an A/C label? You should be! Grams (or kilograms to three decimal places), is the official unit of measure called for in the SAE J639 Standard which requires the label to be there. Manufacturers are allowed to include other units as well like pounds, ounces or cc, but must list the proper amount in g or kg.

Let’s do a quick comparison of the refrigerant amounts between the 2016 and 2017 Malibu. In 2016 the charge spec calls for 698 grams, or 24 ounces of refrigerant R-134a. According to the label for 2017, the R-1234yf charge amount is less, listed at only 600 grams, or 21.16 ounces. That’s only 85% of last year’s charge, or a decrease of 15%. The main reason for using less refrigerant comes down to the efficiency of the A/C system. We know that the IHX is there to increase the performance of systems that use yf, but coupled with other efficiencies like eVDCs (electronically controlled variable displacement compressors) with built-in oil separators, significantly smaller oil charges (less oil circulating throughout the system), ultra tight seals and sub-cooled, micro-channel condensers, that extra amount of refrigerant simply is not needed. One also must take into consideration the cost of the refrigerant itself. At upwards of 39 times higher in price as compared to R-134a, R-1234yf is expensive enough for OEMs to find ways to reduce the amount of refrigerant used in their systems in an attempt to reduce costs as much as possible without reducing performance.

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Just like the R-1234yf service port caps that are being used on the 2016 Ford Escape (check out the story and photos here: https://goo.gl/9C6vWQ), the service port caps on this 2017 Chevy Malibu have little tabs on the bottom which are designed to be used with a tether strap. The purpose is to fasten the service port cap directly to the service port so the caps don’t get lost. Since service port caps are considered to be the primary seal of a service port (and not the Schrader valve that’s installed down inside the port body as is commonly thought by many), the idea behind a tether is to keep the cap right at the port. Technicians know all too well about how often these caps go missing and just how many vehicles show up at the shop without these important sealing caps installed. Tethers therefore are a highly recommended (although not mandatory) requirement of SAE Standard J639.

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The Malibu we tested came equipped with a manually controlled A/C system, GM RPO Code (regular production option) C4P (Air Conditioning with humidity sensor). Otherwise known as “Front Wheel Drive, Semi-Automatic Front Air Conditioning,” it also had RPO C59 (Rear Console Air Vent) and a relatively new RPO Code that’s so far mainly been seen on the Cadillac XTS, and that’s KRV (Low Global Warming Potential Refrigerant).

More information about Bergey’s Chevrolet can be found on their www.bergeyschevrolet.com website. You can also find out more about the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu by visiting www.chevrolet.com and clicking on VEHICLES.

Do you enjoy reading stories about the new vehicles that are being made with R-1234yf refrigerant? You can read more at MACS WordPress BLOG by clicking here: https://macsworldwide.wordpress.com/ and typing “1234yf” in the search bar. We’ve documented several vehicles that are using the gas with more on the way!

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