Fleet operators shouldn’t ignore the importance of AdBlueCarlos Montero
For fleet owners in the UK and Europe, AdBlue is growing in importance, as are the costs of ignoring it. The AA reported that, in 2016, the number of AdBlue-related breakdowns went up every month, to the point that they were dealing with more than 1,000 every four weeks. They also predicted that there could easily be more than 20,000 diesel vehicles suffering the same fate in 2017.
So, what is AdBlue and why has it become such an important product for fleet owners and drivers? Essentially, it is the brand name for a solution that is 32.5% high purity urea and 67.5% deionised water, used in the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems of diesel engines. These systems help to keep levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in fuel emissions below the limits set by a series of directives from the EU. SCR is one of the most effective technologies for reducing these pollutants, which is why they have been used in almost all new diesel vehicles manufactured in Europe.
Fleet owners operating diesel vehicles that require AdBlue need to be aware that neglecting to plan ahead can have serious consequences. If the supply of AdBlue runs out, the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system is unable to carry out the process of removing NOx from its fumes. Cars and lorries are manufactured to limit performance or shut down completely until the tank is refilled enough to continue without breaching stringent emissions limits set by the EU. This can lead to fleet vehicles experiencing issues such as reduced power or being stranded at the roadside altogether.
To avoid this, AdBlue needs to be considered as an essential expense alongside road diesel, ensuring that fleets have enough in store to refuel their vehicles on a regular basis. It can be difficult to estimate exactly how much you need to cover your whole fleet. Multiple factors need to be taken into account, such as how far your vehicles travel on a regular basis, what their fuel economy is, the number of vehicles in your fleet, and the rate at which your vehicles consume AdBlue.
Guidance is available online to help you work out your own estimates, including Rix Petroleum’s AdBlue guide.
Larger fleets will get the best value when buying AdBlue in bulk, usually in the form of an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) or a large tank that can be delivered to your depot. Be sure that you go for the official product, as inferior generic solutions carry the risk of engine damage for your diesel vehicles.