GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

Summary: I don't usually worship my air-conditioner, but ours ran virtually non-stop last week when the air here in New Jersey decided to turn sauna-like. In that context, a green tech breakthrough that has just been achieved by General Motors caught my eye.

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I don't usually worship my air-conditioner, but ours ran virtually non-stop last week when the air here in New Jersey decided to turn sauna-like. In that context, a green tech breakthrough that has just been achieved by General Motors caught my eye.

Apparently, the automaker is the first to begin using what it calls a climate-friendly refrigerant to replace the climate-unfriendly stuff that is currently used in most car air-conditioning systems. The chemical, called an HFO, supposedly has a "global warming potential" of 4. That compares with the score of 1,400 that is associated with what's normally used in vehicles, which is called HFC-134a. If we were to cut out high-impact HFCs, as the Montreal Protocol proposes, we could avoid creating up to 5 to 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to some figures.

To put things in context, HFCs are classified as "super" greenhouse gases. That means they are among the fastest growing contributors to climate emissions; right now, the estimate is that they will grow by 140 percent before 2020, which compares with 4 percent for the rest of the gunk we release into the air. There has been a petition filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) requesting that HFC-134a be stricken from the list of approved refrigerants for motor vehicles.

In a press release about the development, IGSD President Durwood Zaelke suggested that one potential barrier to rapid adoption might be the production and commercialization of HFOs. Here's what he says in the press release:

"The challenge is to get chemical suppliers to make this critical technology available in all countries at an affordable price. ... The more enlightened position would be for the chemical companies to donate their climate-friendly and ozone-friendly technology to the public domain as compensation for the health and economic damage caused by the ozone-depleting and climate-warming gases they marketed in the past."

Uh, yeah.

As with all good things, though, we'll have to wait until it shows up for real: until 2013 to be specific. The first models to be updated with the new refrigerant will be Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac.

OK car executives. Which one of you is next?

Topic: Software Development

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14 comments
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  • Man Made Global Warming = Scam

    Plain and simple.

    Funny how we had a cold winter this year and yet the hot June only made the news.

    We forget that the Artic Ice has been at its highest levels in years the past few winters. Yet this never gets reported.

    We forget these things are self regulating and that the pool of data is very shallow compared to the age of the Earth.

    Then again, MMGW is a huge scare with huge $$'s attached.
    itguy08
    • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

      @itguy08 Yeah, I'm sure 90% of the world's scientists are in on this scam. Let's just hope nobody spills the beans. I'm STILL amazed that so few people know the earth is really flat....
      bmgoodman
      • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

        @bmgoodman 90% - I think you need to check your facts. The number of defectors is increasing.

        Not to mention - if you get lots of grant $$$ to "research" a problem do you really think you will say all is OK? You'd be putting yourself out of a job.

        Think about it - I'll give you $100mill to study Man Made Global Warming. What do you do:
        1) Study it, find nothing wrong.
        2) Study it, find something & say more research is needed
        3) Study it, find something and create hysteria?

        Option 1 will land you jobless. 2 & 3 will keep you busy for years to come.
        itguy08
      • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

        If global warming is caused by man then why is the temperature rising and polar ice caps melting on Mars?

        Your welcome everyone, in one sentence I ended all debate on man made climate change.

        Google "climate change mars" and see for yourselves.
        Admin71
      • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

        A green car is unlike any other <a href="http://www.carparts.com/"><font color="black">carparts</font></a>, because green cars have many benefits - especially for the environment. Apart from the environment, there are benefits in terms of taxes and fuel efficiency as well, so there is more to gain when you buy a green car.
        lackneramanda
    • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

      @itguy08 So basically you're accusing all the world's scientists of lying just to have something to do. Based on what? May I assume that you'd lie and take money to do a job you knew didn't need to be done? And if YOU would do it, then EVERYBODY would? Do you have any evidence? Where's your proof it's all bogus?
      bmgoodman
      • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

        @bmgoodman Not saying they are lying but maybe making incorrect assumptions. Finding causes that while they make sense just are not there. Using somewhat inaccurate methods - they reported temperatures at the hottest parts of cities, have already doctored data, etc.

        Again, not all scientists thing MMGW is real. The numbers that are defecting is increasing daily. In the 70's/80's we were going through an Ice Age - what has changed?

        And you need to follow the $$ - think about it for a second....
        itguy08
  • Didn't we already switch refrigerants?

    Didn't we already switch refrigerants? I thought we already switched away from Freon?
    CobraA1
    • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

      @CobraA1 Switched from R-12 to HFC-134a
      travis.duffy@...
  • Typical

    Companies have an incentive to bring forth new technologies that will save us, and instead of rewarding them, we try to steal their profits.

    We'll never get new tech this way!
    Hameiri
  • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

    @bmgoodman Not all. Some scientists really believe it. Others have come out against it. But, we know there are some trying to convince us with bad science and by covering up any dissension. If you want to know about what happened, check into e-mails uncovered from the Climate Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia in the UK. This is where most of the Global Warming info resides, and what the UN relies on for it's reports.

    Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6678469/Climategate-University-of-East-Anglia-U-turn-in-climate-change-row.html

    East Anglia Confirmed Emails from the Climate Research Unit - Searchable
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/index.php
    Hameiri
  • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

    But will it work as well?
    mlrodman@...
  • Mislead by blinding arguments

    There is some faulty reasoning here.

    1. HFC-1234yf has a low global warming potential but is NOT environmentally friendly. It is a next-generation HFC which forms the highly toxic hydrogen fluoride (HF) when it burns. Vented into the atmosphere, it decomposes close to the earth surface and oxidates into trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) which acts as herbicide.

    2. Under certain conditions HFO 1234yf is flammable and even explosive, which can compromise passenger safety and rescue teams in case of a car accident.

    3. R-12 was banned because it is ozone depleting and has been replaced by R-134a. The latter is now being banned too for being a climate warming gas. Replacing it with yet another generation of chemical refrigerants which have not yet been tested thoroughly enough is likely to spark problems again. In the near future this substance ill have to be regulated again in order to address its impact on the atmosphere and biodiversity, due to its decomposition products.

    4. The chemical manufacturers Honeywell and DuPont who supply the substance also hold the patent on HFC-1234yf in all major markets and are therefore able to dictate the price. Therefore, even from a purely economic point of view, the use of HFC-1234yf cannot be justified.

    Common sense therefore suggests to opt right away for natural refrigerants, a proven sustainable solution. Especially for cars' air-conditioning systems, technology using CO2 as refrigerant is ready, available, highly efficient and in the long run cheaper.

    HFC-1234yf is not environmentally friendly and not economically advantageous. Which reason could General Motors possibly give to justify their decision?
    SabLoe
    • RE: GM cars will get greener AC technology by 2013

      @SabLoe .... I agree with most of your observations. However, there are still problems with using CO2 for automotive, not the least of which is that, while cooling is very R134-like, under sun/max loading condtions, its efficiency drops off dramatically. It is also a much higher pressure system, requiring much beefier components and addtitional safety components. With all this comes additional bulk and weight. Most everything can be overcome, but the top-end efficiency problem has not been fully solved yet. Some European cars are going the CO2 route....I suspect in colder climes.
      Electrosurg