Honeywell plant may be a win win for everyone

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Honeywell Solstice yf automobile refrigerant Plant opens with a ribbon cutting Tuesday, May 16.

The product that will be produced in Ascension Parish is a new environmentally-friendlier refrigerant for cars. It is said that both the production and the emissions from cars is significantly less that traditional automotive refrigerant.

Even better, older cars can be converted to use the new refrigerant, called Solstice. Its full name is Solstice® HFO-1234yf, and it is currently adopted in 20 million vehicles and expected to reach 40 million vehicles by year’s-end, according to Louisiana Economic Development (LED). 

An audience was bussed-in for a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 16, marking the opening of a new plant built in Geismar by Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies.

"We're just excited that Honeywell continues to expand here in Ascension Parish and employ our local workforce," Kate MacArthur, CEO of Ascension Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) said. "We especially appreciate their environmentally friendly products."

The new refrigerant for automobiles is significantly easier on the environment. According to Honeywell:

"Solstice yf is an award-winning product that was developed by the company’s team of scientists to meet the needs of the automotive industry to replace R-134a, the most widely used auto refrigerant. Solstice yf has a global-warming-potential (GWP) of less than 1, which is lower than carbon dioxide and 99.9 percent lower than R-134a, which has a GWP of 1300. R-134a is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), which many governments and industries have been looking at phasing out since the early 2000s."

That's the technical explanation. But it sounds like a global win on top of the win for the parish and the State of Louisiana. 

Moreover, the jobs created by the construction of the plant were nearly 1400 in construction. Hundreds of sustainable, well-paying jobs were created along with the production of the new plant.

"It's something we welcome in Ascension Parish with open arms," Parish Councilman John Cagnolatti said. "It means good jobs, high-paying jobs, and we're thankful."