China expected to be largest production base of HFO-1234yf worldwide Summary: China is expected to be the largest production base of HFO-1234yf worldwide in the near future, and it is expected to be dedicated to providing plenty of this ultra low GWP refrigerant applied to the mobile air conditioning systems in automotive industry, in compliance with the Directive 2006/40/EC from the EU legislation. Tags: Fluoride; Fluorine; fluorite resources; aluminum fluoride; AHF; HF; HFC-125; PTFE; HFP; Lithium hexafluorophosphate; HFC-c-447ef; SF6
In the near future, China is expected to be the largest production base of 2,3,3,3tetrafluoropropene (HFO-1234yf) worldwide. If so, China will play an important role in future in Directive 2006/40/EC from the EU legislation, according to CCMâ€™s November Issue of China Fluoride Materials Monthly Report.
In the past three years, something has happened silently in China: with the first project of HFO1234yf industrialization worldwide in China in 2010, the latest dynamics show that more and more investors are about to launch programs of HFO-1234yf industrialization in China, thus China is expected to be the largest production base of HFO-1234yf worldwide in the near future.
Generally speaking, besides DuPont, Honeywell, Arkema and DAIKIN are the few ones that can produce the refrigerant HFO-1234yf and have the ability to realize its industrialization around the world, especially DuPont and Honeywell which were the cooperative partners that firstly succeeded in the R&D of HFO-1234yf and then jointly launched the new product in 2007.
On May 2010, DuPont and Honeywell announced that they would set up a joint venture to carry out the production of the new refrigerant HFO-1234yf but their marketing and sales would be carried out separately, which was in compliance with the previously signed contract of joint development of HFO-1234yf. However, actually this joint venture has not been set up yet. Moreover, there has been no public reporting of Honeywell's newly constructed projects or factories of HFO-1234yf to date.
As to DuPont, it set up a cooperation project with Shanghai 3F New Material Co., Ltd. (Shanghai 3F) in Jan. 2010, which was also the first project of HFO-1234yf industrialization worldwide. Later on June 2010, Shanghai 3F issued a public notice and rapidly launched the construction. According to the cooperation project, a subsidiary of Shanghai 3F, Changshu 3F Zhonghao New Chemical Materials Co., Ltd. (Changshu 3F Zhonghao), would be in charge of the construction project and industrialized production of 3,000t/a HFO-1234yf, with technical support by DuPont. In addition, the HFO-1234yf produced by Changshu 3F Zhonghao would be sold to DuPont
exclusively. Currently, the first phase (2,000t/a) of 3,000t/a HFO-1234yf project by Dupont has been launched into 100% production; the second phase (1,000t/a) will start to be constructed in the future and the related contractual agreement has been signed by both Dupont and Shanghai 3F.
Even more exciting is that Arkema is about to put its first industrialization project of HFO-1234yf in China, with a capacity of 7,000t/a, which is bigger than that of DuPont's. On Oct. 17, 2012, Jiangsu Changshu Advanced Materials Industrial Park, which is located in Changshu City, Jiangsu Province, China, posted a public notice about the environmental impact assessment of Arkema's new project of 7,000t/a HFO-1234yf. According to the environmental impact assessment, Arkema (Changshu) Fluorine Chemical Co., Ltd., a plant of Arkema in China, will be in charge of the construction with gross investment of about USD94.44 million (RMB595 million), as well as the future operation of this project. Currently, the related interest party, which is in charge of drafting the environmental impact assessment report, revealed that the report is still being drafted and the time to be finished is not sure yet.
Arkema has developed HFO-1234yf with independent technologies since 2008. At that time, Arkema declared that it had been able to produce laboratory scale quantities of HFO-1234yf and ever intended to carry out production with industrial scale in Europe. However, the plan in Europe seemed to be canceled, according to the Arkema 2011 Reference Document; Arkema said it was ready to invest in production facilities as soon as the legal environment permits.
Besides the foreign investors, some domestic enterprises are showing more and more interests in HFO-1234yf and start the related R&D, which benefits the progress of HFO-1234yf development in China, pushing China to be the largest production base worldwide.
On Dec. 6, 2011, Zhejiang Juhua Co., Ltd. (Juhua) announced that its subsidiary, Zhejiang Quhua Fluo-chemistry Co., Ltd., would probe into the R&D of HFO-1234yf under the cooperation with the R&D center of Juhua, using the existing resources from the R&D center including technical personnel, scientific achievements and research facilities.
In addition, YujiChem, a newly founded high-tech company, said that it was able to produce HFO1234yf in laboratory scale.
It is note-worthy that China will not become the terminal consumption market of HFO-1234yf, even though China is expected to be the largest production base worldwide. That is mainly because China currently doesn't have regulation like Directive 2006/40/EC from the EU legislation, which imposes the application of environment-friendly refrigerants on vehicles. In other words, the production of HFO-1234yf in China is mainly to satisfy the foreign consumption.
According to the EU Directive 2006/40/EC which was issued in May 2006, automotive air conditioning systems was forbidden to use the refrigerants with GWP>150, for newly-produced vehicles from Jan. 1, 2011 and for all vehicles from Jan. 1, 2017 (afterwards the date of Jan. 1, 2011 was altered and the latest modification was Jan. 1, 2013 but the date of Jan. 1, 2017 was not changed), and this law was applied to the production and sales of vehicles in European regions. HFO-1234yf is such a refrigerant with an ultra low GWP (GWP=4) which is far lower than the stated maximum index (GWPâ‰¤150), thus it perfectly accords with the mentioned requirement and is qualified to replace the current dominant refrigerant, HFC-134a (GWP=1300), to be applied to mobile air conditioning systems (MACs) in the automotive industry.
In addition, HFO-1234yf has been tested in numerous performance comparisons, plenty of which indicate positive assessment to date, particularly with regard to its performance and efficiency. With the cooling capacity and coefficient of performance within a range of 5% compared with that of HFC-134a, HFO-1234yf is almost applicable (we use the word almost here, because there are still some modifications that manufacturers need to make in vehicle system, so as to fit in new refrigerant) in current dominant MACs which used to adopt HFC-134a. Apart from this, critical temperature, pressure, vapour density and mass flow are also similar, whereas the temperature of discharged gas is up to about 10K, which is lower than that of HFC-134a. Therefore, it is expected that simple modifications to the vehicle MACs system will provide the same performance as that of HFC-134a. In other words, it just requires low cost to complete the technical transformation of vehicle cooling system if HFO-1234yf is selected as alternative refrigerant.
HFO-1234yf is one of the best alternatives to HFC-134a because of its properties of ultra low GWP and low cost for technical transformation. HFO-1234yf has gained multi-national approval and more and more vehicle producers have started the collaboration with HFO-1234yf suppliers to develop new vehicle models equipped with new MACs using HFO-1234yf, so as to cater to the date on which EU Directive 2006/40/EC takes effect. During the Mobile Air Conditioning Society Worldwide convention and trade show in Las Vegas, the US, in July 2012, it was revealed that one vehicle was already being sold with the new refrigerant in Europe - the Subaru XV. Hyundai was next in line to use HFO-1234yf in its i30 model in European market. It was considered that the first vehicle using the new refrigerant in the US was General Motorâ€™s Cadillac XTS during spring 2012. HFO-1234yf manufacturers said that a number of deals had been signed with carmakers.
Simultaneously, with more and more carmakers adopting HFO-1234yf, the existing supply shortage of HFO-1234yf will become more serious. If China provides more HFO-1234yf, the shortage will be relieved.
On April 18, 2012, Philippe Jean, chairman of the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles, wrote an open letter to his committee members. In the letter, Philippe Jean referred that currently HFO-
1234yf was in short supply because the production in China and Japan were both delayed. On one hand, the production facility in Japan, which was disrupted by the events following the earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011, produced only very small volumes of refrigerant. On the other hand, the 3,000t/a HFO-1234yf for mass production in China, that should be ready for production at the beginning of 2012, has been delayed by a new and unexpectedly cumbersome registration process to be completed. He also mentioned that DuPont and Honeywell had communicated in late 2011 that they would not be able to supply the full amount of this refrigerant to the car manufacturers until the 4th quarter of 2012.
Source: China Fluoride Materials Monthly Report 1211 http://www.cnchemicals.com/Newsletter/NewsletterDetail_241.html Main content of China Fluoride Materials Monthly Report 1211: Thaihot Group increases capital of USD6.67 million to Haixia Mining China expected to be largest production base of HFO-1234yf worldwide Development of alternatives accelerates elimination of R22 in room air conditioners Gradual ban on EU F-gas emissions proposed 30,000t/a cryolite of Do-Fluoride put into operation Do-Fluoride sees better performance in Q3 2012 Ningxia Weiyuan develops new technology of fluorine gypsum China to witness oversupply of FEP in 2015 Imminent new policy to bring positive effects to leading enterprises Shanghai 3F continues to decline in business performance Overview of Chinese liquid crystal materials containing-fluorine Import and Export analysis of fluoride chemicals in China in September 2012 Prices of most fluoride materials rise in October 2012
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