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Refrigerants for air conditioning systems: delay until at least mid-2013

Refrigerants for air conditioning systems
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'We will probably need at least half a year to first quantify the risks further can and develop appropriate countermeasures, 'said Eichhorn.

It should be clarified whether air conditioning systems can be further developed to prevent the refrigerant from escaping, or whether the refrigerant can be modified to prevent it from igniting in the event of a leak. It is also being checked whether the automotive industry is switching to a different refrigerant, 'maybe CO2 after all,' said Eichhorn. 'It must be clear that from January 1, 2013 the conventional 134a can still be used.' The VDA is therefore demanding a transition period from the EU. 'The industry is of the opinion that a further moratorium of at least six months or other approval is required. We need legal clarity. Manufacturers who do not want to use R1234yf must not be forced to do so by Brussels.' However, Eichhorn did not want to commit to a fixed point in time when the industry could present a solution. 'How long the solutions will take is still unclear. We need a sensible solution - and we need time for that.'

Daimler and VW stick to the old refrigerant

Although environmental groups had warned of the fire hazard in advance, the VDA is still surprised. 'The fact that the refrigerant reacts in this way and ignites itself after it escapes cannot be understood from the tests carried out,' said Eichhorn. 'This is something that nobody expected because of the material properties. The Daimler results surprised all the experts.'

Daimler announced in September that the new refrigerant R1234yf had ignited in its own tests in the engine compartment. That is why the tried and tested refrigerant R134a will continue to be used. In the meantime, Volkswagen does not want to use the new agent either.

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