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What Is AdBlue, Who Needs It and Why?

With the drive to improve air quality in towns and cities across the country, the haulage industry is under pressure to cut emissions. AdBlue has proven to be a leading technology for reducing the harmful Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel engines that contribute to local air pollution. So what is AdBlue, who needs it and why should transport operators be keeping their fleets topped-up?

What is AdBlue?

Contrary to its name, AdBlue is a clear, colourless liquid that works with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems in diesel engines to reduce the levels of NOx emission that are created during the combustion process.

AdBlue does not have hazardous properties and is not harmful to the environment. However, it is corrosive and can dissolve materials that are not listed as AdBlue proof by ISO 22241 standards. To ensure your AdBlue is compliant with quality standards, be sure to procure AdBlue from a VDA licensed partner and check that the product label mentions ISO 22241 compliance.

Who needs AdBlue?

AdBlue is a basic operational requirement for businesses running diesel vehicles, non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) or agricultural equipment that use selective catalytic reduction.

If your fleet’s engines are fitted with SCR systems, AdBlue is required to meet emissions standards for Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel engines. While Euro 5 emissions standards can be met using other technologies, Euro 6 standards require the use of selective catalytic reduction with AdBlue.

Consumption differs between vehicles and applications. While the average use of AdBlue versus diesel for HGVs is around 4 to 8%, this can rise to 5% to 10% for off-road vehicles. In fact, a single heavy duty tractor can use up to 2,500 litres of AdBlue per year!

Despite recent developments in lower emission engine technology, it is likely that diesel-powered engines will still need AdBlue well into the future as air quality legislation becomes tighter.

What should I be aware of when topping up with AdBlue?

A vehicle’s AdBlue tank is identifiable from its blue cap or AdBlue labelling. However, due to the close proximity of the two tanks, there are often cases of where the AdBlue tank is filled with diesel and vice-versa. If this mix up occurs, do not switch on the engine!

If AdBlue is accidentally added to the diesel tank, the entire tank should be emptied and the mixture discarded. In the case of diesel being added to the AdBlue tank, contact the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for advice, as running an engine with polluted AdBlue will damage the SCR system.

Although AdBlue is not harmful to the environment, any small spills should be diluted with water, mopped up and flushed down a drain. Be sure to contain any larger spillages using a spill kit and dispose of it appropriately.

What happens if I run out?

It’s critical that you keep your vehicles, equipment and machinery topped up with AdBlue and that you have an emergency supply available at all times. Not only could running out result in hefty fines, it could also prevent your engine from starting at all.

While operating your engine without AdBlue will not cause any mechanical damage, it could affect performance and mean that your vehicle could be exceeding legal emission limits. Once AdBlue levels are restored, vehicles will automatically revert to optimal performance.

Supplying more than just fuel, Certas Energy is the UK’s largest distributor of AdBlue. All AdBlue sold by Certas Energy is ISO 22241 compliant and available in a range of formats including jerry cans, IBCs and bulk.

Keep your business moving with reliable deliveries of AdBlue from Certas Energy.

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