Honeywell crackdown on fake refrigerants bears more fruit

Counterfeit versions of a Honeywell refrigerant that is often used in air conditioning systems have been seized in Poland.

The fake Solstice brand HFO-1234yf refrigerant was intercepted at the port of Gdynia on Poland’s northern coast, near the city of Gdansk, by Polish customs. The purchaser of the illegal shipment consented to the seizure and agreed to pay the cost of destroying the product, according to Honeywell.

The seizure comes just a few months after Honeywell carried out a similar operation in collaboration with the Czech authorities, with that haul also uncovering a sizeable quantity of Solstice refrigerant.

Honeywell says that in the past year alone, it has worked with customs authorities to seize multiple shipments of suspected infringing of HFO-1234yf around the world, and recently brought patent infringement lawsuits against one European and two Chinese companies who were either making or distributing fake refrigerant.

Use of fake refrigerants can result in number of problems, from increased energy use and decreased cooling performance, to significantly reducing the operating life of an AC system.

In severe cases they have been known to cause injury and equipment failures, notably in a 2011 incident involving shipping line Maersk in which a system using fake refrigerants exploded and killed three people.

“We’re working around the clock to protect users from products made by unknown sources, as they can be potentially harmful to equipment or to human health,” said Richard Winick, vice president and general manager, Automotive Refrigerants at Honeywell.

“There are several easy ways to avoid buying illegal refrigerants including purchasing refrigerants only from a reputable distributor who can prove in writing that their product was supplied by Honeywell or a licensed source, never buy refrigerants in generic, or in unbranded packaging and never buy refrigerant in Europe in illegal disposable tanks.”

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