GESISMAR, La. (AP) — Honeywell says it will build a new auto-refrigerant manufacturing plant at its Geismar facility.
The plant, whose size has not been determined, is part of $300 million the company and key suppliers are investing to increase production of HFO-1234yf, a new refrigerant for automobiles with a global-warming potential of less than 1.
The company said Monday the new product's global-warming potential is 99.9 percent lower than that of HFC-134a, the current refrigerant in use, and even lower than carbon dioxide.
Among these investments, Honeywell will construct a high-volume manufacturing plant using new process technology at the company's existing Geismar refrigerants manufacturing site, which is expected to be fully operational in 2016. The exact size of the plant will depend on supply agreements that Honeywell is putting in place with major customers.
"Demand for HFO-1234yf is increasing around the world in response to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the need to comply with the Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive in Europe and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations in the U.S.," said Andreas Kramvis, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. "After many years of analysis by the automotive industry, policymakers and environmental groups, it is clear that HFO-1234yf is a safe, effective and robust solution to address global warming and fuel efficiency. Honeywell's investments will ensure adequate supply to meet growing demand.'
"A significant portion of European demand for the current automobile refrigerant, HFC-134a, is currently supplied from the U.S., so our new production plant in Louisiana will mirror this arrangement," Kramvis said. "However, Honeywell is also looking at the possibility of building a plant in Europe, but this will be driven by demand and the requirements of that market."
HFO-1234yf is being adopted by automakers in part to meet the EU MAC Directive, a landmark piece of legislation that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of airconditioning systems in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
Automakers in the U.S. are also adopting HFO-1234yf to help comply with CAFE and vehicle greenhouse gas standards, which aim to improve the average fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with cars and light trucks.