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What Is AdBlue Or Diesel Exhaust Fluid, And Why Do You Need It?

What Is AdBlue Or Diesel Exhaust Fluid, And Why Do You Need It?

As someone who manages a fleet of diesel vehicles, you know how important it is to stay on top of ever-changing emissions standards. Part of that involves understanding the importance of using AdBlue to keep vehicles compliant with emissions rules and regulations. So, what is AdBlue used for?

In a nutshell, AdBlue is a type of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) that reduces the amount of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted by a diesel engine. The colourless, non-toxic liquid is stored in separate Ad Blue tanks and injected directly into the exhaust streams, making it neither an additive nor a fuel. Aside from reducing emissions, AdBlue offers other benefits, like improving a fleet’s overall fuel economy.

Whether you’re in the transportation, haulage, or logistics business, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll discover what AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid is and how it works. Then, you’ll also find out how much an engine needs and much more.

Let’s get started!


What Is Adblue And How Does It Work?

First, let’s start with two of the most important questions you likely have: "What is AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid?” and “Is AdBlue toxic?”. AdBlue is an aqueous solution comprising 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionised water. As such, it’s not toxic whatsoever.

It’s also worth noting that you can’t call AdBlue fuel or an additive. That’s because it sits in a separate tank, is injected into the exhaust stream only, and isn’t involved in the combustion process.

Instead, you’ll find the fluid stored in a separate AdBlue tank, a standard feature on vehicles with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems like trucks and busses, just to name a few. Those vehicles also comply with the latest emissions standards like Euro 4, Euro 5, and Euro 6.

AdBlue is injected directly into the exhaust stream when the engine runs. It reacts with the harmful nitric oxides (NOx) and converts them to harmless nitrogen and water. The result of that process is a dramatic reduction in the amount of nitric oxides that come out of the vehicle’s exhaust and enter the surrounding air we breathe.

As someone who manages a fleet of heavy-duty diesel vehicles, you must also understand that using AdBlue goes well beyond just keeping emissions regulators happy. 

Instead, the fluid also provides additional value that will benefit your bottom line, such as:

  • Improved fuel economy: You can expect an improvement of up to 5% in fuel economy in vehicles using AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid. That means significant cost savings in the long run!

  • Improved engine lifespan: AdBlue also has protective features that reduce corrosion and wear, thereby extending the engine’s lifespan. Not only does that reduce other long-term costs, but it also means your fleet can stay moving with less downtime.

  • Reduced costs: Lastly, AdBlue contributes to reduced maintenance and repair costs by slowing down pollutant buildups in the engine. Like the other two benefits described above, this benefit means a better bottom line thanks to reduced downtime and costs.

Overall, AdBlue is a requirement for diesel vehicles to manage their harmful emissions. Still, using the product also promises other benefits that make it more than worth your organisation’s investment.

What Are The Different Types Of AdBlue?

There are many different ‘types’ of AdBlue DEF in the sense that it comes under many different brand names. Despite that, you can rest assured that you’re getting the exact same solution of 32.5% urea and 67.5% de-ionised water, no matter who you buy it from. That’s because the trademark for AdBlue is owned by the German Association of the Automobile Industry (VDA), which controls its quality standards. From there, different manufacturers worldwide are licensed to produce AdBlue for their respective markets.

For example, you can find AdBlue sold by global brands like BASF, Bosch, and Shell, just to name a few.

Better yet, you can also find manufacturers closer to home, like DPG Australia Pty Ltd, which produces their own licensed Australian AdBlue product, EuroBlue. Sourcing your organisation’s supply of AdBlue from DPG Australia ensures you’ll have access to a continuous supply whenever you need it. Better yet, you can also purchase all the AdBlue equipment from the same manufacturer, such as:

With AdBlue being a necessity for your diesel fleet, nothing beats the convenience of getting all your supplies from one Australia-based supplier!

How Much AdBlue Does A Diesel Engine Need?

A typical diesel engine needs enough AdBlue to match 4-6% of the amount of diesel it uses. In other words, the engine needs 4-6 litres of AdBlue for every 100 litres of fuel it consumes.

AdBlue consumption is quite consistent and predictable, making it easy for you to forecast how much you need regularly.

Supplies come in amounts as small as AdBlue 10-litre packs. However, you can also purchase much larger amounts from DPG Australia to suit your needs.

Never forget that it’s not AdBlue is not a diesel additive blue in colour. It’s an entirely separate fluid that concerns the exhaust system and has nothing to do with the combustion process.

How To Properly Store And Maintain AdBlue

One thing that must be understood about AdBlue is that the ambient temperature influences its shelf life. Therefore, you must be mindful of where and how you keep your AdBlue stock.

You must keep AdBlue in a cool and dry space away from any direct sunlight, and if you’re wondering, “How long does AdBlue last?” the answer is one year or more when stored correctly.

Common AdBlue Problems And How To Troubleshoot Them

AdBlue is incredibly straightforward to store, handle, and use. Still, it’s only normal for some problems to happen.

Here are some of the most common AdBlue problems and what you can do to solve them:

1. The AdBlue Becomes Slushy

AdBlue stays in a liquid form when stored correctly. However, it’s normal to turn slushy when surrounding temperatures drop to -10°C. Despite being frozen at those temperatures, the AdBlue is still usable and will return to its normal fluid state when temperatures rise. Meanwhile, remember to store the AdBlue in an expandable container in cold environments, as its volume will increase when it freezes.

2. AdBlue Accidentally Mixed With Diesel

AdBlue is stored in a separate tank, but its fill hole is next to the fuel tank. When there’s AdBlue in a diesel tank, that can be incredibly damaging. The only solution is for your technicians to flush the tank to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage. 

Remember: AdBlue is not a diesel blue additive or fuel, so it must never mix with the contents of your fuel tank.

3. AdBlue Becomes Contaminated

Lastly, it’s possible for AdBlue to become contaminated in storage or the vehicle’s AdBlue tank. In a worst-case scenario, using contaminated AdBlue can cause various malfunctions in the vehicle using it. You must avoid using contaminated AdBlue at all costs. So, if it’s already in the vehicle’s tank, your technicians must flush the fluid out and use fresh AdBlue instead.

Understand Your AdBlue!

As you’ve seen above, diesel AdBlue exhaust fluid is a requirement for compatible diesel vehicles to ensure they comply with emissions standards. Still, the fluid is more than just a requirement; it helps your diesel fleet operate more efficiently with less downtime and at a lower cost to your organisation’s bottom line. That said, it’s worth learning as much as you can about the fluid, whether using AdBlue for cars or heavy-duty diesel vehicles. Plus, you can source all the equipment and supplies from EuroBlue!


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does AdBlue do?

AdBlue, or Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), is a chemical solution used in diesel-powered vehicles equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems. Its primary purpose is to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel engines. AdBlue is made up of 32.5% high-purity urea and 67.5% deionized water. When injected into the exhaust stream, When this substance comes in contact with NOx emissions, it transforms them into benign nitrogen and water molecules.

2. How long does AdBlue last?

The longevity of AdBlue depends on several factors, including the vehicle's engine, driving conditions, and AdBlue tank size. On average, a litre of AdBlue can last approximately 480-965 kilometres of driving. However, the exact duration may vary, and modern vehicles typically have AdBlue-level sensors and warning systems to alert the driver when it's time to refill.

3. How does AdBlue work in a diesel engine?

AdBlue works in conjunction with a vehicle's SCR system. When the diesel engine runs, the AdBlue solution is injected into the exhaust stream downstream from the engine but before the catalytic converter. In the SCR catalyst, the urea in AdBlue decomposes into ammonia (NH3) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The ammonia then reacts with NOx emissions, breaking them down into nitrogen (N2) and water vapour (H2O). This chemical reaction helps reduce harmful emissions, making diesel engines more environmentally friendly.

4. What does Diesel Exhaust Fluid do?

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), often called AdBlue, is used to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in diesel engines. It chemically reacts with NOx emissions in the exhaust system, converting them into harmless nitrogen and water vapour. DEF is a crucial component in meeting strict emissions regulations, improving air quality, and ensuring compliance with environmental standards.

5. What does AdBlue do to a diesel engine?

AdBlue itself does not directly impact a diesel engine's operation. Instead, it helps reduce the engine's harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx). When used correctly, AdBlue contributes to cleaner air and compliance with emissions regulations. However, if AdBlue is not used or improperly used, it can result in increased emissions and potential damage to the engine or emissions control components.

 6. Can you mix different brands of AdBlue?

Generally, it is recommended to use the same brand of AdBlue as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Mixing different brands of AdBlue is generally not recommended because composition and quality variations could affect the SCR system's performance. To ensure optimal performance and compliance, it's best to stick with the Euroblue AdBlue.

7. How important is AdBlue?

AdBlue is essential for modern diesel vehicles equipped with SCR systems. Its importance lies in reducing harmful NOx emissions, improving air quality, and ensuring compliance with emissions regulations. Without AdBlue, diesel engines would emit significantly higher levels of NOx, contributing to air pollution and potentially violating environmental standards.

8. How long does AdBlue last in storage?

AdBlue has a shelf life, and its longevity in storage depends on various factors, including temperature and exposure to sunlight. Typically, AdBlue can be stored for about 12 to 18 months in proper conditions. It should be stored in a sealed container, away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and contaminants. Manufacturers often label AdBlue containers with expiration dates, and it's essential to use AdBlue that is within its recommended shelf life to ensure its effectiveness in reducing NOx emissions.

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