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DENSO Develops World's First CO2 Car Air Conditioner

TOKYO, Dec. 4, 2002; DENSO Corporation, parent company of Southfield, Mich.-based DENSO International America, has developed with Toyota Motor Corporation the world's first non-fluorocarbon car air conditioner using natural refrigerant, carbon dioxide (CO2). Toyota's fuel cell hybrid vehicle FCHV, launched on Dec. 2, includes this new CO2 car air conditioner.

"DENSO successfully reduces the impact of vehicles on the environment with the world's first CO2 air conditioner applicable to commercially produced vehicles," said Satoshi Watanabe, managing director responsible for the Thermal System Group of DENSO Corporation. "DENSO's automotive air conditioners have consistently held the world's number one market share since 1990. The new CO2 air conditioner will not only protect the environment, but also strengthen our global competitiveness."

The majority of the world's car air conditioners use hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant (HFC-134a) that is a substitute of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-12) and is harmless to the ozone layer. However, HFC-134a's impact on global warming is still large, although smaller than that of CFC-12, Watanabe said.

DENSO's new CO2 air conditioner has the following advantages:

Less global warming impact The impact of CO2 on global warming is 1/1,300 of HFC-134a.

Excellent heating capacity The conventional fluorocarbon air conditioner requires a heater core to use heat from an engine to heat air in the cabin. In contrast, the non- fluorocarbon air conditioner heats air to rapidly raise cabin temperature by heat exchange between CO2 refrigerant and air, without using heat from the engine.

Retrieved through nature CO2 can be produced by purifying and distilling gas discharged from chemical plants. Unlike fluorocarbon refrigerant, complicated manufacturing processes are not required to produce CO2.

In the CO2 air conditioner, the refrigerating cycle needs to operate under higher pressure than that of HFC-134a. Because of this need, the system is equipped with a heat exchanger featuring tubes and tanks resistant to high pressure, and a compressor structure that is resistant to high load and which prevents internal leakage.

Watanabe continued, "While aiming to widely apply CO2 car air conditioners to vehicles, DENSO will attempt to further improve the performance, reduce cost and weight, and secure reliability. Also, DENSO will cooperate with industry and governmental bodies to create infrastructure, such as developing safe refrigerant filling devices to enable safe handling of CO2."

DENSO Corporation, headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a leading global supplier of advanced technology, systems and components. Worldwide, the company employs 87,000 people in 31 countries. Consolidated global sales for the year ended March 31, 2002 totaled US$18.1 billion (2,401.1 billion yen)*. DENSO common stock is traded on the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya stock exchanges in Japan.