Call for warning on cars using R1234yf from DUH and the German fire brigade association

By Janaina Topley Lira, Dec 23, 2013, 12:52 2 minute reading

The Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. (DUH), and the professional association of the German fire brigade, are calling for a clearly visible warning sign on cars using the flammable and hazardous refrigerant R1234yf. Both associations are also demanding that the mobile air conditioning refrigerant be changed as quickly as possible towards the non-flammable and environmentally friendly refrigerant CO2

The number of cars using the flammable and hazardous refrigerant R1234yf in mobile air conditioning systems is increasing. According to figures by the Kraftfahrtbundesamt (KBA), more than 90.000 cars are already using R1234yf on German roads.
High flammability and concentrations of HF cause danger for rescue forces
DUH chief executive Jürgen Resch said: “This is the biggest experiment in the history of the chemical industry, and the drivers are the guinea pigs. Only a very few know that a chemical is used in their cars that has been proven to be highly dangerous in several tests.” 
R1234yf catches fire at far lower temperatures than the previously used R134a. In addition, tests have revealed the release of the toxic compound hydrogen fluoride (HF) even before the chemical ignites. This is poses a risk to passengers as well as emergency services. The tests conducted by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for a report on the flammability of R1234yf recently confirmed the flammability in the engine compartment as well as high concentrations of HF.
Daniel Dahlke, vice (chief) executive of the professional association of fire brigade explains: “R1234yf can be a serious threat for the lives of first-aiders, police and rescue forces. Therefore, in cooperation with the DUH we are asking for clearly visible signs on the windscreen of cars using R1234yf.”
Both associations are also demanding to change as quickly as possible towards the non-flammable and environmentally friendly refrigerant CO2.


Prior to the DUH and German firebrigade association press release, at a December 2013 meeting of the European Commission working group assessing safety aspects of the use of refrigerant HFC1234yf in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems, Daimler reiterated its support for R744 for MAC, disputing the credibility of a Risk Assessment on HFC1234y safety carried out earlier in 2013 by a SAE International Cooperative Research Project.


By Janaina Topley Lira

Dec 23, 2013, 12:52

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