Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Diesel exhaust fluid is an organic fuel solution that is created by combining 67.5 percent de-ionized or purified water with 32.5 percent automotive-grade urea. Urea is used to carry the ammonia that is needed in order to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions into water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. This fluid is used in EPA vehicles from 2010 and vehicles in the future that are fitted with SCR or Selective Catalytic Reduction technology. The fluid is monitored for quality to ensure that it provides a safe solution that is odorless, non-toxic and more stable than previously used fluids. DEF is thoroughly regulated by the American Petroleum Institute to ensure its safety. It will be packaged in a variety of different ways including bulk storage at many fleet locations and truck stops as well as in 2.5 gallon jugs and 275 gallon IBC.

It has been shown that a mere 2.5 gallons of diesel exhaust fluid will give you just over 800 miles of travel, much more than gasoline. It will be completely possible to drive completely across the United States from the eastern to the western shore on less than a single tank, which typically holds 23 gallons. The estimated usage rate of DEF is currently two percent for each gallon of fuel and the estimated cost is less than $3.00 per gallon.

It is important to understand that diesel exhaust fluid can and will freeze at temperatures that are less than twelve degrees Fahrenheit. Tanks for DEF have been tested in a number of climates and it has been shown that the fluid will begin to form minute levels of ammonia when heated to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when maintained at these temperatures however, it would take nearly three years for diesel exhaust fluid to reach high levels of ammonia at these temperatures.

Diesel exhaust fluid regulators or indicators will show when the fluid levels are running low, much like gasoline gauges in traditional cars and trucks. The visual indicators provide a low-level warning and even when the vehicle runs completely out of fluid, it can be driven until it is shutdown or until it remains stationary for more than an hour. When correctly stored at temperatures between ten and ninety degrees Fahrenheit, the shelf life of diesel exhaust fluid is expected to be more than one year. Larger storage containers or those that hold 1,000 gallons or more are equipped with climate control systems to ensure that proper temperatures are maintained. Smaller storage containers or IBCs however, do not have these systems so it is recommended that DEF be stored in cool and shaded areas.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers DEF to be completely non-toxic when compared to other fluids like anti-freeze or coolants, transmission fluids, brake fluid and traditional diesel fuel. It helps to convert NOx into water vapor and meets the international standards for composition and purity. Urea is a compound that turns to ammonia when it reaches a specific temperature. Urea is used in many ways, including fertilizer and since it is naturally occurring, it provides a much more cost-effective way to fuel. Vehicles using DEF perform much more efficiently and at a much higher range of climactic changes. The API has a set of standards that must be followed by stations that pump DEF including regulation of manufacturing, quality assurance, environmental protection and safety.

The main goal of or Selective Catalytic Reduction technology is to reduce the overall levels of NOx or the nitrogen oxides that are emitted from vehicle engines. These oxides can be very harmful to the environment as well as the general health of consumers. The Selective Catalytic Reduction technology treats gases found in engine exhaust below the engine. DEF is injected into the exhaust in the SCR. When DEF mixes with NOx, it changes the gasses into water and nitrogen, which are basically harmless to the general population as well as the environment.

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