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Du Pont Announces New Refrigerant It Says Won’t Deplete Ozone Layer

January 22, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Du Pont Co. unveiled a new line of refrigerants Monday designed to eventually replace existing chlorofluorocarbons, a cooling gas linked to depletion of the ozone layer and so-called greenhouse effect.

The new products, to be sold under the trade name Suva, are a family of refrigerants ″with low or no potential to deplete ozone,″ said Du Pont vice- chairman Elwood P. Blanchard.

The Suva-brand refrigerants are designed for new commercial and industrial refrigeration systems, new automobile air conditioners and new home refrigerators.

Du Pont said it also is developing other products, called Suva blends, to replace refrigerants in existing and new systems in home refrigerators, automobiles and refrigerated transport.

The chemical giant, which is based in Wilmington, Del. and has operations worldwide, announced the debut of its Suva CFC substitute at a news briefing in Manhattan.

The Suva refrigerants eventually will replace chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, a chemical found in the Freon gas coolant now used in refrigerators and air conditioners. Other chemicals are replacing CFCs used in inflating foam and cleaning fluids.

CFCs have been linked to causing a hole in the Earth’s layer of protective ozone, which screens cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

Refrigerants are one of the largest markets for CFCs, using 40 percent of the coolant gas.

In 1989, an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol called for the complete elimination of CFCs by the year 2000. CFCs also are believed to be a so-called greenhouse gas, or a substance that contributes to global warming.

Tony Vogelsberg, environmental manager for Du Pont Fluorochemical, said introduction of two new Suva-brand refrigerants will ″take care of the largest share of the refrigerant market that has to be phased out by the end of the century.″

Vogelsberg said the Suva refrigerants will contribute about one-tenth of the global warming problem caused by the CFC products.

The Suva refrigerants will cost two- to five-times more to produce than two existing types of CFCs, known as CFC-11 and CFC-12, said Vogelsberg. He predicted the cost of manufacturing the Suva products will match the price of CFCs in 1993 and 1995 because of rising taxes designed to phase out the CFC refrigerants. Also reducing the cost will be a manufacturing process that’s expected to improve and become more efficent over time, said Vogelsberg.

Du Pont, the nation’s largest chemical producer, spent $240 million researching CFC alternatives and said it could spend up to $1 billion over the next 10 years. Production of the Suva refrigerants started last month in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is underway in a Du Pont factory in Maitland, Ontario.

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