by Jacques Gordon
The Industrial Chemicals division of the French company Arkema Inc. has recently announced they will execute plans to build a new plant in Asia to produce their Forane® brand refrigerants, including Forane 1234yf. In a recent news release, Arkema explained the move by saying that car manufacturers “have not been given a sufficiently clear view of the availability and supply conditions for R-1234yf, and this has limited progress to convert to the next generation refrigerant.”
The news release outlines the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive enacted in Europe that requires the use of low-global-warming refrigerants in new vehicle platforms beginning in 2013 and in all new vehicles by 2017. Right now, R-1234yf, patented by Honeywell, is the only commercially-available non-blend refrigerant that meets the European regulation. While other A/C technologies and refrigerants are under development, most of the world’s auto manufacturers have prepared their next-generation A/C systems to use R-1234yf, and some are already on the road. DuPont (Honeywell’s refrigerant development partner) is currently producing enough of the refrigerant to meet the demand, but Arkema believes the industry will need more production capacity to meet future demand. Therefore, they say, they are building the production plant “to restore confidence across the automotive sector in R-1234yf and…to assure the automotive industry that R-1234yf will be available in commercial quantities to meet the phase down of R-134a.”
With demand for the new refrigerant expected to grow rapidly, Arkema expects their production plant in Asia to be up and running in 2016. They also have plans to build a second plant in Europe some time after that, should demand continue to increase.
Arkema produces an extensive line of refrigerants, including Forane 134 (R-134a), Forane 22 (R-22) and others for stationary and commercial applications. To help service technicians who work with their products, the company has recently released a free app for smart phones called “Forane®P/T” that includes product information, a pressure/temperature chart for the chosen refrigerant, a pressure/temperature calculator and a subcooling/superheat calculator. The app is a very useful tool, and it can be downloaded from the iTunes store and from Google Play. More information is available at http://www.forane-us.com.
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Power Up will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.