A Beginner Guide to AdBlue® Diesel Exhaust Fluid

If you have bought a diesel car, there is a high possibility that you need to use AdBlue® – a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) used in millions of vehicles including cars, HGVs, buses, and coaches all over the world.

What is AdBlue® Diesel Exhaust Fluid?

AdBlue® is a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) mixture used in all heavy-duty diesel engines built after 1 January 2010, as well as most commercial and automotive diesel engines built after September 2015 -- mainly Euro 6 compliant models. AdBlue® is not a fuel additive because it is added to the exhaust gas after combustion.

The term AdBlue® is a global trademark of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), referring to DEF manufactured to ISO 22241.

What is AdBlue® fluid made of?

AdBlue® is made from a colorless mixture of highly purified urea (32.5%) and deionized water (67.5%) as specified in the ISO 22242 standard.

How does AdBlue® fluid work?

When a diesel engine burns fuel, it produces polluting chemicals and compounds, including nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These elements accumulate in the air and produce smoke and acid rain.

AdBlue® works through a process called selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Before releasing any emissions, the solution will be finely sprayed into the diesel exhaust at a rate equivalent to approximately 5% of the diesel fuel. This releases ammonia, which is a catalyst for chemical reactions, and converts hazardous chemicals into nitrogen, water vapor, and CO2-all of which are harmless to our lungs and atmosphere.

Is AdBlue® hazardous and corrosive?

AdBlue® is not a hazardous substance and has no known effects or serious hazards. Urea is a raw material that naturally exists in our digestive system. However, we strongly recommend that you do not inhale or ingest AdBlue® to avoid reactions.

Although not dangerous, AdBlue® is corrosive and can dissolve materials not listed as AdBlue® proof in ISO 22241, which could cause malfunctions in your SCR catalyst.

How do I store AdBlue® and how long does it last?

Storing AdBlue® is simple, but it must be kept between 11 and 30 °C to maximize its 12-month life expectancy. It has a 1,000-liter IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container), a 210-liter drum, and many smaller 10-liter packages to meet all requirements.

What to do if AdBlue® is poured into the Diesel tank?

If this happens, it is recommended to not start the car or move it if it could be remedied! AdBlue® solution is more corrosive and heavier than diesel and can fall below the level of the diesel tank. It can then enter the diesel fuel system rapidly, causing much damage within a short time. The only way to stop this is to flush the diesel tank to the bare minimum, then replenish it by using clean diesel.

What equipment do I need?

Although there are now a large and ever-increasing number of fueling locations equipped with AdBlue® fueling systems for heavy vehicles, there is certainly no better safety measure than having all the necessary equipment at your location.

AdBlue® in Cans

5L, 10L Cans AdBlue® is suitable for personal use. Each can normally feature a flexible delivery spout which can be easily reattached to aid spill-free dispensing. So you don’t need to buy any other fuel transfer equipment to refuel your AdBlue® tank.

AdBlue® in 210L Drums

210L drums are an ideal solution for small to medium-sized fleets. AdBlue® in 210L Drums will cost less per liter than a 10-liter AdBlue® pack. You would just need to purchase a hand or electric barrel pump to dispense the AdBlue® – which tends to be cheap and will last a while.

IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container)

An IBC can store 1,000 liters of AdBlue® and will cost much less per liter compared to a pack and barrel. There are several various ranges of AdBlue® dispensing equipment such as AdBlue® pump kit which can transfer from the IBC.

240L/480L Portable AdBlue® Transfer Tank

This is a completed set-up including a storage tank, nozzle, pump, cables, crocodile clips, and hose for transferring AdBlue®. The compact size makes you can easily carry it on your vehicle to anywhere that needs AdBlue®.