Final US rule on CO2 MAC provides clarity to engineers, says German UBA president

By Sabine Lobnig, Jun 25, 2012, 13:57 2 minute reading

One week after US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final use conditions for R744 in new motor vehicle air-conditioning systems, Jochen Flasbarth, president of the German Environment Protection Agency UBA, traveled with a car equipped with CO2 MAC to the German Environmental Week. R744.com asked Mr. Flasbarth about the UBA’s view on the EPA’s final use conditions for CO2 MAC. + PHOTOS

R744.com: You are traveling today to the German Environment Week with UBA's CO2 MAC car, a few days after the US having issued the final SNAP rule on R744 in MAC. How do you evaluate the significance of this SNAP rule on R744 in mobile air-conditioning for the market and ongoing policy discussions in Europe and the US? Do you think that this re-listing removes the final hurdle for the successful incorporation of CO2 MAC technology in vehicles today?

Flasbarth: The final rule for CO2 had been in discussion for many years. The finalised EPA rule provides clarity to the engineers about the conditions to be met when using CO2 as a refrigerant for cars and trucks in the US market.

I can only emphasise the German EPA's view: CO2 is significantly better for the environment than most alternative refrigerants currently listed by EPA for mobile air conditioning. CO2 has no ozone depletion potential, a low GWP of 1, it is not listed as a volatile organic compound, it is stable and does not form persistent atmospheric degradation products and it is non-flammable. That is why CO2 is already used in many stationary applications, such as supermarkets, food industry and in heat pumps.

In the mobile sector, already 22 German buses cool with CO2 MAC. Effective bus heating with a combined CO2 heating /cooling unit was demonstrated and saves 50% of the fuel for heating. Even in the car sector CO2 had been the refrigerant of choice for the German car industry for many years. And for full hybrid and electric cars, there are convincing technical reasons to consider CO2 for heating and cooling, suitable electrically driven units are already developed.

R744.com: What is the UBA's action plan in regard to MAC? Are there any concrete actions planned until the end of the year?

Flasbarth: With our car, we proved that CO2 air-conditioning is feasible and has many advantages. We will continue our support for climate sound air-conditioning in cars as well as for an overall climate friendly mobility.

R744.com: What is the UBA's view on the delay by the automotive industry in implementing the European MAC Directive?

Flasbarth: We are seriously concerned about this delay, for it could put the overall climate protection goals at risk. The new refrigerant 1234yf not only increases the greenhouse gas emissions four times compared to CO2. It also leads to further greenhouse gas emissions of important quantities of CO2-equivalents arising from new cars that - although type approved with the new refrigerant 1234yf (GWP of 4) - were filled for life with the old refrigerant R134a (GWP of 1430) because the new refrigerant is not available yet. These additional emissions need to be stopped as soon as possible. In the light of the current supply problems car industry might rethink their refrigerants choice for future cars very carefully.

R744.com: Many thanks, Mr. Flasbarth!




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By Sabine Lobnig

Jun 25, 2012, 13:57




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