If you are the owner of a diesel-powered vehicle, you’ve probably heard of AdBlue. However, there are many vehicle owners who are not overly familiar with what it is and what it does for your vehicle. The issuing of new EU legislation in 2015 has enacted even stricter fuel emission regulations for new cars — so it is quite likely that you will need to become acquainted with this essential product in the very near future. Read on to find out more about what Adblue is and what it can do for your vehicle.
What is AdBlue?
Using AdBlue with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology is one of the most effective ways to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) in the exhaust fumes created by diesel engines. AdBlue is a urea and demineralised water-based solution whose main component is ammonia. When injected into the catalyst of a vehicle’s SCR system, the solution triggers a chemical reaction with the ammonia that converts harmful NOx into nitrogen and water vapour — naturally occurring gases that pose no threat to the atmosphere. AdBlue is stored in a separate tank to the fuel needed to power the engine, and sprayed directly into the exhaust gases. The Diesel Forum have a very detailed guide as to exactly how a SCR system works with a diesel engine.
AdBlue and Euro 6
The system was first created to meet the requirements of Euro 4 and Euro 5 fuel legislation for diesel truck engines. This legislation was introduced in a series of European Union directives aimed at defining acceptable levels of exhaust emissions in new vehicles produced within the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) member states.
In September 2015, the new Euro 6 standard came into force, which saw more stringent limits for emissions put into place. Euro 6 set standards for both petrol and diesel vehicles, but were particularly tough on diesel engines; permitted NOx levels were driven down from the 180mg/km of the previous Euro 5 standard to a new maximum of 80mg/km. This new standard has seen almost all truck manufacturers include the Adblue system in their diesel-fired engines, as well as a host of car manufacturers.
How do I know whether my vehicle needs AdBlue?
AdBlue has a key part to play in the reduction of harmful NOx output in diesel emissions, so if you are not already in need of it, there is a very good chance that you will be in the future. As the Euro 6 standard is relatively new, SCR technology is going to be more widely utilised in manufacturer’s vehicles as they look to ensure their products meet the required limits. If you are using a new vehicle that uses a SCR catalyst then you will definitely need AdBlue — if you want to be sure, check your vehicle’s user manual or check with the manufacturer.
What happens if I don’t use Adblue?
If you have a diesel vehicle that makes use of a SCR system, running out of AdBlue will lead to limited engine performance — something that is done to ensure that your fuel emissions stay below the parameters set out by Euro 6. Many new car models will have a warning indicator that will flash up when you are nearing empty or have run out. Some vehicles will not start-up again if you have run out of AdBlue, therefore it is wise to keep an emergency supply at hand to resupply if necessary.
How often will I have to re-fill my AdBlue?
Your consumption of the solution will depend on what kind of vehicle you are operating, how often you use it, and how far you travel. When you have fully re-filled your Adblue tank, it should usually last for several tanks of diesel. As you use AdBlue when you burn fuel, the level of usage is directly linked to the efficiency of your driving —you can learn more about improving your driving efficiency in this helpful article from the Energy Saving Trust.
Is AdBlue hazardous?
As AdBlue is manufactured with naturally-produced substances, it poses no threat to humans — the urea used in the solution comes from cows and is not exposed to the diesel fuel itself at any point in the system.
Where can I buy AdBlue for my vehicle?
AdBlue is available from licensed vendors, such as Rix Petroleum, and is available to purchase in small to large quantities to suit your purpose. It is also available at many service stations, who are equipped with dispensing machines that allow you to re-fill in a similar fashion to putting fuel in your vehicle. You should only buy from officially licensed vendors of AdBlue who are registered with the VDA, because it is produced under conditions that meet ISO 22241. Do not buy AdBlue or a similar product that is being sold at a suspiciously low price, as inferior products could prove to be harmful to your engine.
How can I store AdBlue?
You should store AdBlue in a sheltered area, away from direct sunlight. Keep the temperature between -6°C and 25°C and the container sealed shut to maintain a minimum shelf life of 18 months. If you store the solution in a container that is vented, it will reduce the shelf life to 6 months.
The points in this article should help you to understand what AdBlue is and how it will be essential for new and future diesel-fired engines. The article should also help you to prepare for when you have to incorporate AdBlue into the maintenance of your diesel vehicle.