What is AdBlue?

AdBlue® is a highly purified colorless liquid. It contains demineralized water and urea (32.5%).

AdBlue® is used with diesel engines and is also known outside of Europe as DEF, ARLA 32 or AUS 32.

The main active component of AdBlue® is ammonia. This is chemically formed by hydrolising automotive urea, which is the main raw material for AdBlue®. Urea is also used in the production of fertilizers and many more applications.

AdBlue® is used with diesel engines using SCR technology. This technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) reduces harmful emissions (NOx). AdBlue® is injected into the catalyst of the SCR system,
where it triggers a chemical reaction with the ammonia. This chemical reaction converts the toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) into nitrogen (N2) and water vapor (H2O). Water vapor and nitrogen are naturally occurring gasses that are harmless to the environment.

Do I need AdBlue in my car?

AdBlue® is mandatory in Diesel cars since the 1st of January 2017. If your car is less than 2 years old and is a Diesel car, then yes you might need to add some AdBlue® in it!

To make sure this is the case, you simply have to check your user manual.

 

Why do I need AdBlue in my car?

Your vehicle needs AdBlue® to reduce NOₓ emission. Due to the stricter emission legislation, diesel engines need to have cleaner exhaust gases. NOₓ is one of the emissions that causes acid rain. To meet the Euro 6 standards for diesel engine emission the use of Selective Catalyst Reduction-technology (and thus AdBlue®) is required. The Euro 6 standards are into force from September 2014 for new passenger cars.

All commercial vehicle manufacturers have to meet the Euro 6 standards for diesel engine emission. Although Euro 5 emission standards could be met by different technologies, Euro 6 standards require the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction with AdBlue®.

Is AdBlue Hazardous?

No, Adblue® is not a hazardous substance. It has no known significant effects or critical hazards.

The raw material, urea, even occurs naturally in our digestive system. However, we strongly dissuade you to ingest AdBlue® or inhale AdBlue® vapors, due to the risk of an allergic reaction.
AdBlue® is corrosive and can dissolve materials that are not listed as AdBlue® proof in ISO 22241. These materials could create malfunctions in your SCR-catalyst.

 

AdBlue and emission legislation

Is my vehicle subject to this emission legislation?

The Euro 1-6 emission legislation applies to motorcycles, heavy duty vehicles (buses, trucks) and passenger cars. However, not all vehicles are required to meet the same standards.
Stage I to IV legislation applies to most off-road machinery as used in construction, for farming and other applications. Whether you need to use SCR technology and AdBlue® accordingly, depends on the emission levels of your machine or vehicle.

 

Legislation for transportation vehicles

EURO 6
Euro 6 will come into force in 2014. It will especially affect standards for diesel driven vehicles, requiring further reduction of NOx and Hydrocarbon emission. Consequently, the SCR system and AdBlue® will become vital to meet the Euro 6 standards. Euro 6 legislation will immediately come into force for trucks in January.
New introduced passenger cars will have to meet the legislation before september 2014 and in january 2015 all newly delivered cars will have to meet Euro 6.

EURO 5 (715/2007/EC)
Euro 5 was introduced in the EU in 2009. It proposes to limit harmful emission from Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs).

EURO 4 (98/69/EC, 2002/80/EC)
Euro 4 was introduced in the EU in 2005. It proposed further limiting of petrol and diesel vehicles emissions.
In Euro 4 the emission of NOx has been limited for the first time.

EURO 3 (98/69/EC)
Euro 3 was introduced in the EU in 1999. It limited diesel car emissions. Euro 3 also included legislation for Heavy Duty Vehicles.

EURO 1 & 2 (91/441/EEC, 93/59/EEC & 94/12/EC, 96/69/EC)

Euro 1 came into force in 1993, setting emission standards for commercial vehicles and light trucks. It was the start of a step by step reduction of emissions from all engines to improve air quality in Europe. Euro 1 was soon followed by Euro 2 in 1996, which included legislation for motorcycles.

 

Legislation for off-road vehicles

Stage III and IV and Stage IV B
Addressing a wider range of off-road vehicles. Stage III and IV contain more elaborative and demanding standards. Stage IV will be introduced in 2014. To meet these emission standards almost all manufactorers will use AdBlue®.

Stage IV B was introduced in 2011 leading major non-road suppliers towards implementation of SCR technology.

Stage I and II (1997-2004)
The first non-road diesel engine regulations were introduced in 1997. These stages did not yet include railroad engines, inland vessels or airplanes.

Where can I buy AdBlue

AdBlue® is widely available in 10 and 20 lit. cans, 200 lit. drums and 1000 lit. Intermediate Bulk containers (IBC’s) or via designated AdBlue® dispensing systems.

Most truck stops already sell AdBlue® in cans or bulk. Europe also has a widespread network of AdBlue® distributors and commercial suppliers. Look for dispensing units with the AdBlue® logo and fill your tank just as you would tank fuel.

How much AdBlue do I need?

Your AdBlue® consumption depends on your type of operation. A full tank of AdBlue® will last several tanks of diesel.

Estimated usage for trucks:

The average use of AdBlue® vs diesel for tucks is 4 to 8%.

  • Local distribution:
    – Approximately 500L in one year
  • National distribution:
    – Approximately 1,000L in one year
  • International distribution:
    – Approximately 2,500L in one year

 

Estimated usage for Passenger cars: 

  • Mid class diesel (For example Opel Insignia or Peugeot 508): 1 llitre AdBlue® for 1,000 km
  • SUV/MPV class diesel (for example Opel Zafira or VW touran): 1.5 litre AdBlue® for 1,000 km

 

Estimated usage for off-road vehicles:

Because of the wide variety of off-road vehicles, it is difficult to pinpoint their exact usage. A large heavy duty tractor can use 2,500L of AdBlue® a year.

A ratio of 5 to 10% of the diesel usage is used to calculate the required AdBlue®.

How do I recognise the AdBlue tank?

You can recognise your AdBlue® tank by its blue cap or an AdBlue® label, but it is a totaly separate tank.

The filling point is often fitted near your diesel cap. Some passenger cars have an AdBlue® tank in the boot or in the engine bay.

The opening for your AdBlue® tank is narrower than the opening for a diesel tank, so you should not be able to put diesel in the wrong tank (the nozzle does not fit).

What do I do when I have spilled AdBlue®?

AdBlue® is not dangerous to the environment. A small AdBlue® spill can be diluted with water. It is best to mop up the spillage and avoid flushing it down a drain or waterway.

In case of a large spill, try to prevent the spillage from entering drains or waterways. Contain the spill with sand, earth or your spill kit and dispose of it properly. Spill kits are available in different sizes and sets.
Note: The surface on which you spill AdBlue® may become slippery. Make sure that you clean up the spill as quickly as possible to prevent slipping and falling.

Can I reuse spilled AdBlue®?

No, never try to reuse spilled AdBlue®!
Spilled AdBlue® will always be contaminated. Using contaminated AdBlue® can cause costly damage to your vehicles’ SCR system, so no matter how great the spill, you cannot reuse it !

Storage of AdBlue

AdBlue® should be stored out of direct sunlight between -6°C and 25°C in a clean and sealed container or dispensing unit. Storing it in the wrong equipment may result in costly damage to your vehicle due to contamination, which can result in SCR-catalyst replacement and downtime.

Storage Requirements

Environment:

Check local legislation for environmental requirements. Some countries require a bunted AdBlue® storage tank when you are storing AdBlue® or an anti-spill container under the IBC or drums. Contact local authorities for further information on storage requirements.

AdBlue® Suitable materials:

AdBlue® can only be stored in high density Polyethylene, polypropylene or stainless steel containers. Suitable materials for piping, insulation and sealing:

  • Polyisobutylene (synthetic rubber), free of additives – (for seals and hoses)
  • PFA, PVDF & PTFE (teflon) free of additives (for sheet – lining for chemical equipment/support rings, seals)
  • Copolymers of (P)VDF and HFP (viton), free of additives – (for the insulation of electrical wires & seals/o-rings)

Do not use corrosive materials like copper, nickel, zinc, mild iron or aluminum. You can check the entire list in the ISO 22241 recommendations.

All materials used by GreenChem meet the AdBlue® requirements and all experience gained since the start of AdBlue® are implemented in the GreenChem AdBlue® products and available for you.

If I run out of AdBlue will the engine shut down

No, the engine will not shut down, but some engines automatically limit engine performance when AdBlue® supplies are depleted.

If your engine is equipped with SCR technology, your vehicle will lose power, and reduce its emission according to legal standards. The vehicle’s performance will be restored when AdBlue® levels are up again.
Note: Some engines will not start after you have run out of AdBlue®. Make sure that you have an emergency supply on board, or continue to the next distribution point without shutting down your engine.

Can I fill my tank up with AdBlue at the pump at the gas station?

No, unfortunately filling your car up with AdBlue® at a pump is not possible yet. The pumps of AdBlue® at gas stations are available for trucks only and are not suited for filling up cars. We are now developping solutions to meet this new demand, and we will be pleased to inform you once this is ready to go.
The network of AdBlue® distribution for cars is in a early developing stage, however, many gas stations do sell AdBlue® in canisters and we will be very happy to help you finding the closest station by using our Smartphone App.

 

What happens if my car runs out of AdBlue?

Your car will warn you when the range for the AdBlue® tank is 2400 km. What happens after the 2400 km warning is different for each brand, so please check your owner’s manual to find out what applies to your vehicle.

For example, a Opel Zafira Tourer will warn you at a range of 2400 km. Then, the car will limit your maximum speed to 100 km/h at a range of 900 km. The car will eventually limit the maximum speed to 50 km/h and it will warn you that the engine will not restart once the engine is turned off.
Make sure you carry an emergency supply on board or continue to the next distribution point without shutting down your engine.

What do I do when I have accidentally put diesel in my cars AdBlue tank?

Do not start your engine! Diesel contaminates the AdBlue® and any contamination may cause costly damage to your SCR-system. It is best to contact your vehicle manufacturer to prevent any damage to your car. You may have to replace certain AdBlue® components.