HFCs: The CFC Alternative

The Judging Committee's Special Award
The Judging Committee's Special Award

The automotive industry relied on R-12, a common CFC-based refrigerant commonly called Freon, for many years. The worldwide mandate halting CFC production therefore severely affected the automotive industry. With the deadline set, the industry searched for an alternative. After many years of testing and evaluation, the automotive industry decided that HFC-134a (R-134a) was the best replacement for R-12.

R-134a is a hydrofluorocarbon in which a hydrogen atom was used to replace the chlorine atom in CFCs. This change allowed for the production of a much more environmentally friendly refrigerant.

But the problem with R-134a was that it was not miscible with the existing lubricants--mineral oils--typically used in automotive air conditioners. As a result, there was a great need for a new synthetic lubricant that was compatible with the new refrigerant. After extensive laboratory and field testing the automotive industry chose PAG for use in their air conditioning systems.

Go to page top