On 13 December 2011, German environmental group DUH organised an event dedicated to the question of how to make automotive air conditioning a future-proof solution. shecco was invited to talk about how the market success of CO2 in stationary applications could drive its future adoption as one of the most environmentally, socially and economically viable solutions also in passenger car cooling worldwide.
German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), together with automobile club VCD, invited around 50 experts from the German media, the automotive industry, public authorities and non-governmental bodies to discuss the role awareness-rising campaigns would play in helping German and foreign consumers in evaluating the environmental and health risks emanating from current and proposed refrigerant solutions, as well as to promote best-practice use of automotive air-conditioners. Given that today more than 90% of all new passenger cars are equipped with an air conditioning system, DUH explored the risks posed by the chemical refrigerant HFC-1234yf, likely to be adopted by the European car industry, in comparison to the obvious environmental and economic benefits a wide-spread use of carbon dioxide refrigerant would have.
Among the participants were representatives from the European Commission, the US-based International Council on Clean Transportation ICCT, German automakers’ association VDA, the association of foreign automobile manufacturers in Germany VDIK, as well as from the German Ministry of Environment (BMU), the Federal Environment Agency UBA, global environmental group Greenpeace, and selected experts from the transport sector.
CO2 as a sustainable solution
Invited speakers and panelists from industry, research and the non-profit sector stressed the health and environmental risks from HFC-1234yf – a refrigerant that is flammable, releases hydrogen fluoride as a highly toxic substance for human health, and is supposed to counteract the efforts made under the Montreal Protocol due to its ozone-depleting waste products and decomposition elements.
On the contrary, CO2 used as a refrigerant (known as R744) in Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) would not pose such dangers and would moreover benefit the European automotive supplying industry that had developed CO2-based MAC systems up to serial production before the automotive industry decided to choose the chemical alternative 1234yf.
shecco was invited to provide an overview of successful applications of CO2 refrigerant in mobile (buses, trains) and stationary applications, including more than 1,300 transcritical supermarket refrigeration systems in Europe alone, hundreds of thousands vending machines, or 2 million domestic heat pumps in Japan. shecco released an exclusive preview of its publication “GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants – Market Growth for Europe”, to be officially presented in January 2012. shecco also pointed out that more than 20 million passenger cars today already use hydrocarbons refrigerants – another future-proof solution including for developing countries.
“CO2 is still one of the most promising alternatives for MAC in Europe and beyond. The present automotive industry’s decision against R744 has sent wrong signals to the markets, given the momentum HFC-free technologies are currently gaining in other applications around the world. I am sure that latest with the advent of electric vehicles the added technological and economic benefits of R744 cooling and heating solutions will convince the automotive industry to invest in the only future-proof solution: Natural Refrigerants“, says Nina Burhenne, Head of Market Research.
The PRO KLIMA campaign is supported by the European Union LIFE+ programme to educate consumers about the fuel consumption and best-practice use of MAC through dedicated events, press releases, publications or surveys.
shecco presentation 13 Dec 2011