Valeo today announced that it has successfully developed an environmentally friendly air conditioning system which meets future EU regulations. The system replaces the current HFC R134a refrigerant used in car air conditioning systems with the R744 refrigerant and consequently eliminates the direct impact of air-conditioning systems on global warming due to refrigerant leakage.

The Valeo R744 system – based on CO2  – was recently tested on a demonstration vehicle by automobile experts at the SAE Alternate Refrigerant Symposium in Phoenix, USA and successfully concluded three days of formal tests with ambient temperatures up to 43° C in both city traffic and highway driving conditions.

“Valeo is leading the development of future air conditioning systems in order to provide more well-being for all car occupants whilst minimizing the environmental impact. We expect to see these systems in the market by 2009”, said Thierry Morin, Valeo Chairman & CEO.

The replacement of current refrigerants with R744 represents a significant technology breakthrough due to the significantly higher-pressure requirements of the air conditioning cycle. The environmental benefits are achieved due to the R744 refrigerant having a Global Warming Power more than a thousand times lower than the current HFC R134a. In addition to the environmental benefits, there are servicing cost benefits for the automotive industry as there will not be a need to recover and recycle the refrigerant at the end of life.

A European regulation is currently in the stages of finalization that will lead to a ban on the use of HFC R134a in 2011 model passenger cars sold in Europe. The introduction of the R744 system will enable car manufacturers to comply with this regulation for air-conditioning systems.

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