Honeywell has started commercial operations at its new manufacturing plant in Geismar, Louisiana, to meet the growing global demand for new generation mobile air conditioning refrigerant. With this start-up, the plant has become the world’s largest site for producing HFO-1234yf, sold commercially as Solstice yf.

Solstice yf was developed by the supplier to replace R-134a, the most widely used auto refrigerant. It has a global-warming-potential (GWP) of less than one which is lower than carbon dioxide and 99.9% lower than R-134a, which has a GWP of 1300. R-134a is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), which many governments and industries have been looking at phasing out since the early 2000s. 

“Solstice yf is a breakthrough innovation that is helping the auto industry transition to more environmentally preferable technologies without sacrificing performance,” said Ken Gayer, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Fluorine Products. “We invested significantly in research and development for more than a decade to enable our award-winning scientists to create new, near drop-in alternatives to meet the rising demand to replace HFCs. Solstice yf is one of the best solutions available to meet global requirements because it is safe for intended use and is capable of addressing both fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Geismar has become one of Honeywell’s most advanced production sites and will serve as the showcase for some of the company’s own process and automation technologies, including Connected Plant.

The supplier has created a central hub in Louisiana to manufacture its full range of new Solstice products. The company has been supported by a comprehensive incentive package spearheaded by the Louisiana Economic Development authority for its investments in the state.

“Our new Geismar plant will be a leading source of supply of Solstice yf for our global automotive customer base,” said Rick Winick, automotive refrigerants business director. “As we have successfully converted our customers’ fleets in the US and Europe, this new capacity will enable us to help additional countries to meet their commitments to transition to next-generation, environmentally preferable mobile air conditioning refrigerants.”

Over 20m cars on the road now use Solstice yf. That number is expected to pass 40m by the end of 2017. Nearly every carmaker plans to use the refrigerant in at least one of their US models to take advantage of its numerous environmental benefits, according to Honeywell which says global adoption of this refrigerant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of permanently removing more than 30m cars from the road.