GEISMAR, LA — About 30 miles northwest of New Orleans, in a rural setting outside of Geismar, sits a Honeywell/ Genetron refrigerant plant. The property runs down to the banks of the Mississippi River and has neighboring chemical plants on either side. Emerging from the middle of this busy landscape will be a new structure, one that will expand refrigerant production and help introduce a new product.

With New Orleans’ hospitality and a Mardi Gras flair, Honeywell celebrated the groundbreaking on an unseasonably warm April 5 day. With cows grazing across the street, dozens of visitors and community leaders were treated to a festive look at the future of environmentally friendly HFC-125 and the addition of HFC-245fa to Honeywell’s product line.

“This is one of the most ambitious and forward-looking projects in the U.S. today,” said Dean Flatt, president of Performance Polymers and Chemicals. “The project is a win-win for the local community.”

Honeywell will invest over $200 million in the plant, which will create 100 new full-time jobs, 1,800 construction jobs, and pour $70 million into the local economy. And what is just as important as the economy is the impact of the products on the environment.

Honeywell listed five main reasons why it is a leader in supporting the environment. The company said that it is:

  • An active supporter of the Montreal Protocol (HCFC phaseout);
  • An industry leader in the transition from CFCs to HCFCs to HFCs;
  • Investing years of research and development and testing resources to identify suitable products;
  • Developing HFC products to meet customer requirements; and
  • Building manufacturing plants to meet global phaseout schedules.
  • Furthermore, the company stated that Geismar is the perfect location for the plant. Terry Sutter, vice president and general manager for Flourine Products, said, “We chose the Geismar site because it has an existing 125A facility and it is one of the top sites for environmental and safety aspects.

    “Thus far we have enjoyed tremendous success in the local community.”

    HFC-125, which is used in refrigerants R-410A and R-404A, is a key product of the new plant. Honeywell representatives stated that HFC-125 has the following refrigerant blend characteristics:

  • Zero ODP;
  • Energy efficient;
  • Nonflammable;
  • Low toxicity;
  • Compatible with metals and plastics; and

  • Low-fractioning options.

    Honeywell/Genetron project manager Jim Hull was one of several plant workers who spent thirteen months at Honeywell’s Morristown, NJ, facility, going over the plant design, research, and development process. He was involved every step of the way as a representative of the local facility. And he was anxious to get started in Geismar.

    “About 35 minutes after we got all of the permits, we began working on the pilings!”

    The plant is expected to be in full production by July 2002.

    For more information about Honeywell/ Genetron Refrigerants, visit the company’s website at