* Commission has begun legal proceedings against Germany
* Daimler says new research is "too restrictive"
BRUSSELS, March 7 EU scientists have found that
the new car coolant at the centre of a dispute that has pitched
regulators against Germany and its luxury carmaker Daimler
does not pose any serious safety risks, the European
Commission said on Friday.
The Commission, the EU executive, has launched legal
proceedings against Germany over Daimler's refusal to
stop using an old-style coolant that has global warming
potential more than 1,000 times greater than that of carbon
The suggested substitute, which has roughly the same impact
as carbon dioxide, is the R1234yf coolant developed by U.S.
conglomerate Honeywell in partnership with Dupont
Daimler says that the substitute can emit a toxic gas when
it burns, but its refusal to use the product has placed it in
breach of an EU law that requires new cars to use coolants with
a global warming potential no more than 150 times that of carbon
In what it described as "a confidence-building measure", the
Commission asked the Joint Research Council (JRC), set up to
provide impartial scientific advice for policymakers, to carry
out a new assessment of R1234yf.
"There is no evidence of a serious risk in the use of this
refrigerant in mobile air-conditioning systems under normal and
foreseeable conditions of use," the JRC concluded in its report
published on Friday.
Daimler issued a statement saying that the research was "too
restrictive". The carmaker said that its preferred option is to
develop air-conditioning systems that use carbon dioxide as a
refrigerant. Development of such a system, however, could take
Honeywell and Dupont both welcomed the JRC's findings.
Honeywell said there are now more than 500,000 cars using
R1234yf and the number is expected to reach more than two
million by the end of this year.