General Motors Co. will introduce a new greenhouse gas-friendly air-conditioning refrigerant in 2013 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models that keeps vehicle interiors as cool as today while reducing heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere by more than 99 per cent.
The biggest benefit of the new refrigerant, (HFO-1234yf) supplied by Honeywell, is that it breaks down faster in the atmosphere than the refrigerant currently used (R-134a), On average, R-134a refrigerant has an atmospheric life of more than 13 years, giving it a global warming potential (GWP) of over 1,400.
By comparison, the new refrigerant lingers in the atmosphere for just 11 days and has a GWP of only 4, a 99.7 per cent improvement. GWP is a value used to compare different greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. The base measurement for GWP is relative to that of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awards regulatory credit for the improved environmental performance of the new refrigerant, which helps GM meet the overall requirements of the EPA's new motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations. The new regulation requires an overall 40 per cent improvement in overall U.S. fleet average vehicle fuel economy by 2016.
The use of HFO-1234yf will help GM vehicles significantly exceed its targets under the new regulations.