The American Chemical Society (ACS) has recognized seven Honeywell scientists with the ACS’ prestigious Heroes of Chemistry Award for the development of a low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant being adopted for vehicles globally.

The refrigerant, HFO-1234yf, which Honeywell markets as Solstice® yf refrigerant, was developed for use as a replacement for the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) R-134a in mobile air conditioning systems.

“This award recognizes what those of us who work in this industry know to be true: scientists are everyday heroes who change the world for the better,” said Rajiv Banavali, chief technology officer, Honeywell Advanced Materials.

HFO-1234yf, which is based on next-generation hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) technology, has a GWP of less than 1, compared to R-134a’s GWP of 1,300.

According to Honeywell, HFO-1234yf is a near-drop-in replacement for older refrigerants and requires almost identical hardware. Currently, 40 brands and 115 models of cars are manufactured with HFO-1234yf, and more than 9 million vehicles worldwide are using it. That number is expected to rise to more than 18 million by the end of the year.

Honeywell said it and its key suppliers are investing approximately $300 million to increase global production capacity for HFO-1234yf. This refrigerant is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

ACS has also recognized scientists from Honeywell UOP for the development of the process to manufacture Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™, which is manufactured from waste oils and fats rather than from petroleum. The awards mark the first time scientists from Honeywell have been recognized with the Heroes of Chemistry Award.