Honeywell to build new auto-refrigerant plant in Geismar

New refrigerant to be produced

“A serious conversation needs to be held about the health and economic impacts of the pollution that Honeywell already produces in our state.” ANNE ROLFES, Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Honeywell announced Tuesday that it will build a new auto-refrigerant manufacturing plant at its Geismar campus.

The plant, whose size has not been determined, is part of $300 million the company is investing to increase production of HFO-1234yf, a new refrigerant for automobiles with a global-warming potential of less than 1. The new product’s global-warming potential is 99.9 percent lower than that of HFC-134a, the current refrigerant in use, and even lower than carbon dioxide.

The Geismar plant is expected to begin operating in 2016. The exact size of the plant will depend on supply agreements that Honeywell makes with major customers.

Demand for the new refrigerant is increasing worldwide because of concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and environmental regulations — the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive in Europe and Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations in the United States, said Andreas Kramvis, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. It’s clear that HFO-1234yf is a safe and effective solution to address global warming and fuel efficiency.

A significant portion of the current auto refrigerant is made in the United States and the new Geismar plant will mirror that arrangement, Kramvis said. Honeywell is also looking into building a plant in Europe but that decision will be driven by demand.