The Diesel Exhaust Fluid (AdBlue) That’s Helping the UK Cut Harmful Emissions

Diesel exhaust fluid, also known as AdBlue, is key in helping diesel-powered vehicles reduce their harmful emissions. Diesel vehicles and equipment account for almost half of all nitrogen oxides (NOx) and more than two-thirds of all particulate matter (PM) emissions from US transportation sources.

Further research has revealed that diesel engines are carcinogenic and cause significant health problems and as such, diesels have recently become subject to a lot of negative publicity thanks to the amount of harmful emissions they produce.

The government decided that NOx emissions needed to be reduced with the Euro 6 standard, leaving car manufacturers no choice but to overcome another obstacle introduced by legislators. To combat this, they introduced ‘wet’ diesel particulate filters (DPFs) that require AdBlue, which was a relatively cost-effective and simple way to cut the amount of harmful emissions released.

To pass Euro 6 regulations, AdBlue is used in an ever-increasing number of diesel-powered vehicles. In fact,  Heavy Goods Vehicles are required by law to use the additive since 2006 (all Euro IV and Euro V vehicles weighing over 7.5 tonnes) and many new models now also have an AdBlue tank (but this is not required by law yet).

So, unless you drive a Heavy Goods Vehicle above 7.5 tonnes or diesel engine car that’s fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), it’s likely you’ve never heard of it.

Diesel exhaust fluid AdBlue

What is AdBlue?

AdBlue is officially called AUS32 which stands for Aqueous Urea Solution 32.5%. It goes in a separate tank from the fuel itself as it should never come into contact with it.

What is Adblue made of?

AdBlue contains 32.5% of high purity water and 67.5% of deionised water and is key in helping cut harmful emissions released from diesel exhausts.

Why is AdBlue needed?

The diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) has recently become key in helping cut harmful emissions produced by diesel engines. With the government putting increasing pressure on diesel car manufacturers to do something about the substantial amount of harmful emissions released by exhausts, AdBlue was introduced by the automotive industry to help improve our health and cut down on Nitrogen Oxide.

How does AdBlue work?

Polluting chemicals and compounds, including Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide, are produced when diesel engines burn fuel. These elements build up in the air and produce smog and acid rain. AdBlue works through a process called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to remove these harmful emissions.

Where does AdBlue get injected?

AdBlue is sprayed into a diesel exhaust and releases ammonia which is a catalyst to a chemical reaction. This converts dangerous chemicals into Nitrogen, water vapour and CO2 which are unharmful to our lungs and atmosphere. The diesel will never come into contact with AdBlue because it’s stored in a separate container.

How do I know if my vehicle needs AdBlue?

All commercial diesel engine vehicles above 7.5 tonnes and Euro IV and Euro V manufactured after October 2006 have Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology fitted to reduce harmful gases from being released.

When you buy a new or second-hand diesel vehicle, they will talk you through its features, including if it uses AdBlue. The majority of vehicles have a blue or sometimes black screw cap for AdBlue which is next to the diesel filler cap. It’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure the AdBlue tank is topped up at all times to avoid breaking the law.

How much AdBlue do I add?

The typical consumption of AdBlue is around 1-litre every 600 miles, however it could be as much as 1 litre every 350 miles depending on the vehicle engine, journey type, environmental conditions and the efficiency of the driving style. AdBlue tanks also vary in size, which means you may need to top it up anything between 3,000 and 12,000 likes.

Please note, you must never add AdBlue to your diesel tank as this can break your engine. If you accidentally top up the wrong tank, ensure you don’t start the engine and call the specified emergency support number in your handbook.

What happens if I run out of AdBlue?

If your vehicle’s AdBlue levels start to deplete, an alert will come on the dashboard to warn you that you need to top it up. If you leave it too late and it runs out completely, the car will lose power and reduce its emissions in line with legal standards. Once you’ve topped up the AdBlue, the car will run normally again. Failing to use AdBlue in an SCR-equipped vehicle can result in prosecution.

How long does AdBlue last in storage?

AdBlue can be stored for up to 12 months, providing good storage conditions. It must be kept between temperatures of 11 and 30°C and stored in suitable storage facilities.

Are all AdBlue products the same?

Unfortunately, not all AdBlue on the market is of the same quality, so it’s important to shop around and ensure you choose a reliable and trusted supplier. Poor quality AdBlue will stack the Selective Catalytic Reduction catalyst and prevent exhaust gases from being released and eventually cause in a complete blockage in the SCR system.

Where can I buy AdBlue?

Beesley Fuels is a leading supplier of the diesel exhaust fluid, which you can buy in IBCs of 1,000-litres, 205-litre barrels and a range of smaller 10-litre tubs. Make sure your fleet of vehicles is safe, legal and helping the environment and order yours now. Call us on 0330 123 1144. 

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