Eco-Friendly AC Refrigerant Coming from GM

Most of you already know by now that besides the dreaded CO2 emitted by our cars and production facilities, one of the most harmful gases to the ozone layer is the refrigerant used in air conditioning systems.

Containing a mix of not-so-green elements like ammonia, sulfur dioxide, methane, methyl chloride and methylene chloride, the refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) of more than 150 will be banned from automotive air conditioning use in Europe, for instance, starting 2011.

In the US, GM is among the first to announce the introduction of a greenhouse gas-friendly air-conditioning refrigerant starting 2013. Supplied by Honeywell, the HFO-1234yf refrigerant will go into all future GM cars from that year onwards.

“GM’s decision to adopt this new refrigerant is additional proof of our commitment to be on the forefront of green technologies that will keep our planet healthy for our children and grand-children,”
Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety Policy said in a release.

“It’s not just about meeting regulatory requirements; it’s about environmental leadership and GM plans to lead in developing new technologies that will take the vehicle out of the environmental debate.”

Aside for helping protect the environment, the new refrigerant is also part of GM's strategy to reach the Environmental Protection Agency's new fuel economy standards set for 2016.

For the record, GM's current refrigerant, R-134a, has a GWP of over 1,400. GWP is a value used to compare different greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. It represents the 100 year warming potential of one kilogram of a gas relative to one kilogram of CO2.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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