AdBlue is a highly purified liquid which is produced in accordance with exact quality procedures. If the liquid is contaminated, it could cause malfunction of your exhaust aftertreatment system and create machine downtime. In particular for off-road machinery such as agricultural or construction machines, it is very important to pay attention when refilling the AdBlue tank, to ensure sand and dust do not enter your tank.
Machines such as combine harvesters, tractors, excavators, road work machinery, reach stackers, bulldozers, wheel loaders, generator sets and forestry equipment all use AdBlue in their exhaust aftertreatment system.
For virtually all non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) users, it will be important to know how to handle AdBlue.
AdBLue MSDS, what to do if?
A material safety data sheet (MSDS) or safty data sheet for AdBlue (SDS) can be downloaded via the link you see below. This document is intended to provide you with procedures for handling or working with AdBlue in a safe manner, and what to do in emergencies.
How to take care of AdBlue ?
There are many so called “experts” which think of AdBlue as if it were a simple watery solution. AdBlue looks like water but it definitely is not water; it has very specific characteristics which need to be respected.
These basis characteristics are:
- AdBlue is corrosive
- Many materials cannot withstand AdBlue and start rusting or dissolving
- AdBlue crawls
- This makes sealing a product correctly very important, otherwise the product will leak through.
- AdBlue forms rock-hard crystals when dried.
- This in combination with the crawling makes incorrect designed products vulnerable for defects. When crystallization starts in small cracks a defect is waiting to happen.
- AdBlue is heavier than water.
- Take this into account whenever AdBlue is stored or moved, it weighs 1,09 kg per litre
- AdBlue freezes at -11° C
- For some countries or applications heating will be needed.
The quality of AdBlue is very important as contamination can result in damage to your SCR catalyst after treatment system. This damage can result in costly replacement and downtime costs. To keep the highest quality of AdBlue it is important to store AdBlue the right way and keep it clean!
How to handle AdBlue:
- Protect AdBlue against any contamination at all times (fuel, oil, water, dust, dirt metals, detergent etc.)
- Don’t put anything inside the AdBlue container. This will compromise quality.
- Do not try to mix your own AdBlue; the quality of urea and water is very important for the quality of AdBlue.
- It is not recommended to use used cans or other vessels for AdBlue, but if you use a jerry can or vessel to transport AdBlue, make sure it is clean. Do not use cans or vessels that have previously been used to transport diesel or oil. Use materials made for AdBlue use only!
- If your AdBlue has frozen, you can use it again once it has thawed.
Tips for dispensing AdBlue:
- AdBlue is not an additive to diesel. Never put AdBlue in your diesel tank or vice versa, but always put the AdBlue in the separate AdBlue tank.
- Only top up AdBlue with a filling system which is made especially for the use of AdBlue. Check the filling equipment for crystallisation and blockages before you start dispensing your AdBlue.
- If you are using AdBlue jerry cans, make sure that the opening and spout are clean
- Do not attempt to refill AdBlue jerry cans or drums by yourself.
- Do not use AdBlue containers with broken seals.
- When you fill up your car or vehicle you do not need to wear any protective clothing. You might want to wear gloves to keep your hands clean, but any spilled AdBlue can easily be washed off with water. AdBlue can cause stains on your vehicle, clothes or upholstery.
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.
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.
More about Urea, the rawmaterial
The raw material for the production of AdBlue is urea, however not all urea is suitable to produce AdBlue as there are different types of urea:
- Fertilizer Urea
- 3 Quality parameters
- Agricultural application
- Feed Urea
- 5 Quality parameters
- Ruminates feed application
- Technical Urea
- 8 Quality parameters
- Application in plastic, glue, textile pharmaceutical industries.
- Automotive Urea (AMU)
- 17 quality parameters
- When prilled without surface treatment, suitable for AdBlue.
Automotive urea is made from natural gas and air, compressed under high temperature. Several chemical reactions occur, resulting in a mixture of ammonia, ammonium carbonate and urea. This mixture is dehydrated to form urea in a crystal or powdered form. The powder and crystals can be melted and made into prills, which is the common form for urea distribution.
Greenchem AdBlue is produced from high quality non-coated urea prills with demineralized water. The water has to be heated before urea is dosed into the reactor/mixer-tank. Urea dissolves quite fast and a batch of AdBlue is ready quickly. Every batch is produced under strict quality requirements and tested by a third party laboratory on all set AdBlue quality parameters. GreenChem AdBlue is therefore traceable back to its production source. This ensures a high quality set up and thus high quality AdBlue.
Production of AdBLue
GreenChem has more than 20 production plants over Europe where AdBlue is produced. The production plants all use GreenChem knowledge and produce high quality AdBlue. The use of over 20 production plants across Europe provides GreenChem with a very reliable production. In the case of maintenance of one of the plant’s production, production of AdBlue simply continues in one of the other plants and the delivery of your AdBlue is secured.
One other large advantage of this diversification of plants is the flexibility of production capacity. The plants are designed in a way that if a sudden peak of product demand occurs, the sites can simply double their shifts to meet the demand. If the demand is of structural nature, individual plants are easily expandable with hardware to ensure a higher production capacity for the future.
GreenChem has also chosen the most environmentally friendly way to produce high quality AdBlue using this production set up. Since a large part of the production of AdBlue is demineralized water, GreenChem transports the concentrated automotive urea prills to the production plants across Europe instead of the ready liquid product.. By delivering the product locally instead of transporting ‘water’ all over Europe, it reduces transportation movements.
Part of the Agrofert group (GreenChem’s holding company) are two of Europe’s main UREA suppliers, this enables GreenChem a steady and reliable source of raw material for AdBlue production.
Quality of AdBlue...
The quality of AdBlue is very important. To make sure the quality stays high, GreenChem produces AdBlue strictly according to ISO and DIN standards. These standards specify the exact composition of AdBlue and urea and instructions on storage and test methods. Following these standards ensures a high
quality product that is safe for consumers and vehicles.
To guarantee the quality of the produced AdBlue every batch is analyzed according to the ISO 22241 standards and can be traced back to its origin. To make sure you buy AdBlue from a VDA licensed partner look for the text ‘AdBlue according ISO 22241’on the container or dispensing system. ISO is an international organization that creates standards to ensure consumer safety and guarantee interchangeability, quality and reliability.
ISO 22241-1 to 4 are the most important for AdBlue and its production and supply:
ISO 22241-1 Quality requirements
- Specifies the quality characteristics of AdBlue needed to operate the SCR system on your vehicle. This document describes for instance the chemical characteristics of AdBlue to ensure high quality AdBlue.
ISO 22241-2 Test methods
- specifies test methods required for determination of the quality characteristics of AdBlue
ISO 22241-3 Handling, transportation and storage
- describes how to deal with AdBlue in practice. This document describes which materials to use for the storage, distribution and packaging of AdBlue.
The ISO 22241-3 also advises AdBlue should be kept at a temperature between -6°C and 25°C. At temperatures higher than 25°C the shelf life can be reduced and at temperatures of lower than -6°C it is important to be aware that solidified AdBlue has 7% more volume than liquid AdBlue, GreenChem packaging takes into account that this volume increase takes place when AdBlue is frozen.
The ISO also requires that contamination of the product must be avoided at all times. Make sure the containers are well-closed and surfaces are free of foreign matter.
All batches must be traceable back to the production plant with an unique batch number. Take a look at the YouTube video Storage of AdBlue for more practical information about AdBlue and quality.
ISO 22241-4 Refilling interface
- describes elements pertaining to refilling components
In part 4 of the ISO 22241 the functional as well as the geometric requirements of the refilling system can be found. Parts like the filler neck, inlet adapter, filler -cap and filler nozzle are described and all requirements are listed. For example, a sealed refill system must comply with all the basic functional requirements and cannot have a spillage rate of more than 20 ml.
AdBlue should always be a colorless liquid. If you buy drums or cans, watch out for brand names that are similar to AdBlue. You could be dealing with a brand of inferior quality. Make sure that you buy AdBlue from a VDA licensed partner. To be sure you top up with premium quality AdBlue it is best to buy GreenChem AdBlue.
Using low-quality AdBlue could damage the SCR-catalyst or the after treatment system, which could result in reduced torque, speed and possible complete machine shutdown with a lot of unnecessary expenses and downtime as a result. This can easily be prevented by using only quality AdBlue.
The Do’s Concerning AdBlue
In most cases the do-not’s are mentioned, in this part of the website you can find a couple of pointers to how to take proper care of AdBlue. When you click on the YouTube video, you can easily find out what to do.
The text of the video is available below:
Storage of AdBlue
If your AdBlue is Stored in an IBC then it is advisable to keep it inside, this way you keep it:
- Out of direct sun-light, as the UV can cause quality issues with AdBlue and the package itself especially if the consumption is less than an IBC a year.
- Out of the Rain, rain can cause contamination of AdBlue as it might enter the container
- Preferably between minus 6 °C and 25 °C just to be sure you can maximize the shelf life of 18 months.
- Unfrozen; AdBlue freezes at approximately minus 11°C When frozen you can thaw it again and use it without loss of quality.
- Unheated; When storing the product for a longer time above 25°C the water will slowly evaporate which will have effect on the specs of the product.
- The use of a fully bunted tank system avoids all the above concerns.
- Keep your containers and equipment clean, this way you minimize the risk of contamination of the product.
- Keep your containers closed and properly sealed, this way you can be sure foreign materials do not leak into your AdBlue
When using a GreenChem AdBlue Dispensing system:
- Keep your system clean.
- Make sure you clean your AdBlue nozzle on a regular basis. If you clean your nozzle in a bucket of warm water, the crystallized residual AdBlue will dissolve and the performance of your nozzle will be enhanced.
- Never try to move or lift the AdBlue dispensing system when there is still AdBlue in it.
- Always keep your system powered. If you only power up your system to fill your vehicles, the system will not be able to report the AdBlue levels properly and will corrupt the all-important telemetry.
When changing equipment on an IBC or Drum:
- Make sure you keep all parts which are in direct contact with AdBlue perfectly clean.
- When your hoses, dip-tube and nozzle have been laying on the ground, make sure you clean them before using again.
- Keep al hose clamps tight, to prevent leaking of AdBlue
Make sure you follow local legislation when storing AdBlue. Although AdBlue is not a hazardous substance, in some countries you might require a spill-bund under an IBC or DRUM, or need a water-tight floor when using AdBlue.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about AdBlue
Do I need AdBlue?
If you use a modern, diesel powered machine fitted with a SCR-catalyst, you do need AdBlue.
Why do I need AdBlue?
Your vehicle needs AdBlue to reduce NOₓ emissions. Due to the increasingly stringent emission legislation, diesel engines need to run cleaner. NOₓ emission standards have been sharpened for all diesel powered vehicles (light and heavy commercial vehicles, buses and passenger cars) with the EURO 6 emission legislation, For the Non Road Mobile Machinery (Off Road machines) market the same has been done with Stage 3B (Tier 4 final) legislation
Where can I buy AdBlue?
From GreenChem of course. AdBlue is widely available in various sizes of cans, 200 liters drums and 1000 liters Intermediate Bulk containers (IBC’s) or in bulk deliveries using a designated AdBlue dispensing system. Most commercial filling stations and truckstops already sell AdBlue in cans or via dispensing systems for heavy duty vehicles. . Europe also has a widespread network of AdBlue distributors and commercial suppliers, fill in our contact form for more information.
Is AdBlue hazardous?
No, Adblue is not a hazardous substance. It has no known significant effects or critical hazards.. However, we strongly dissuade you to ingest AdBlue or inhale AdBlue vapors, due to the risk of an allergic reaction. Many materials cannot withstand AdBlue these will dissolve in the fluid or start corroding, so you need to take care when dispensing AdBlue. When AdBlue is spilled make sure you rinse the surface with plenty of water.
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.
The average use of AdBlue vs. diesel for trucks is 4 to 8%.
- Local distribution: Approximately 500 litres in one year, per truck.
- National distribution: Approximately 1,000 litres in one year, per truck.
- International distribution Approximately 2,500 litres in one Year, per truck.
What happens if the tank runs out of AdBlue?
This will result in crossing the allowed emission levels. If this limit is exceeded when running without AdBlue, you may be running illegally. Legislation does not allow an engine to be started without AdBlue, this is managed electronically. .
If you run out of AdBlue while driving, your engine will not shut down, but your vehicle will lose power and reduce emission according to legal standards. The vehicle’s performance will be restored when the AdBlue tank is refilled.
Some engines will not start after you have run out of AdBlue. Make sure you carry an emergency supply on board or continue to the next dispensing point without shutting down your engine.
What do I do when I have accidentally put diesel in my AdBlue tank?
Do not start your engine! Even the slightest drop of diesel will pollute the AdBlue in your tank. One drop of diesel will pollute up to 20 liters of AdBlue. Running with polluted AdBlue will disrupt your SCR system. To prevent further damage to your vehicle, it is best to contact your vehicle manufacturer. You may have to replace certain AdBlue components.
What do I do when I have accidentally put AdBlue in my diesel tank?
Do not start your engine! Depending on the amount of AdBlue, you may damage your engine when you start it. You should empty and clean your tank. You will have to empty the whole tank and discard the mixture.
For further instructions on emptying and cleaning your tank, please contact your vehicle supplier.
Can I use homemade storage equipment for AdBlue?
It is not recommended to use homemade storage equipment due to the risk of contamination by using materials which are not AdBlue proof. Besides the corrosiveness of AdBlue, also the crawling characteristics and crystallization when dried makes it difficult to build suitable AdBlue Dispensing Systems. Storing AdBlue in the wrong equipment may result in costly damage to your vehicles due to contamination.
Always respect the storage requirements to keep your AdBlue integrity.
Read also our tips about storing AdBlue.
AdBlue, what does it do?
AdBlue is used in combination with SCR (Selective Catalyst Reduction)- technology and reduces the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOₓ) in the exhaust gases, with a chemical reaction in the SCR-Catalyst.
AdBlue contains urea which has ammonia as an active ingredient. The solution is injected into the exhaust gases before the SCR-catalyst, where it triggers a chemical reaction with the ammonia. This chemical reaction converts the toxic NOₓ into nitrogen (N₂) and water vapour (H₂O). Water and nitrogen are naturally occurring gasses that are harmless to the environment.
AdBlue, what it is and AdBlue specifications
AdBlue is a liquid, clear solution which consists mainly of demineralized water and automotive-urea (32,5%). It is used to reach emission legislation for diesel powered engines. AdBlue is also known as DEF in the United States, ARLA 32 in Brazil or as AUS 32 which is the technical name. AdBlue is a very purified product and this needs to stay this way all through the distribution chain until it is used in your vehicle. There are stringent rules for the production, distribution, storage and use of the product, these are all described in the ISO 22241 and need to be followed. Unfortunately there is a general lack of awareness with the users of AdBlue, in this section of the GreenChem website we try to provide you all the information about AdBlue which you might need.
Take a look at the stringent AdBlue specifications on the Adblue Datasheet.
In addition to our website we have also produced a: "What is AdBlue? " booklet to inform about AdBlue, by clicking on this link you can read the PDF version.