Better to be Blue: Improving Diesel Engines With BlueDEF®

If you’re managing a fleet of diesel vehicles made in the last dozen years, you’re likely already familiar with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). That additional tank next to the fuel supply helps mitigate the impact of nitrous oxides (NOx) and meet evolving environmental standards. While the consumer automobile industry experiments with electric and hydrogen-powered engines, the need for diesel in commercial shipping remains strong. We aren’t abandoning diesel anytime soon, but we want to be smarter and more environmentally friendly when using it.

The problem is that not all DEF is created equal. Effective DEF consistently follows the same chemical process for reducing NOx by Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR):

  • DEF converts to ammonia and isocyanic acid
  • Isocyanic acid breaks down with water into carbon dioxide and ammonia
  • Ammonia, when combined with oxygen and a catalyst, reduces NOx output and converts it to harmless hydrogen and water

This process should work every time your drivers run their engines. But if they add unauthorized DEF into their tanks, it could disrupt this conversion.

Risks of using unauthorized DEF

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued strict compliance requirements for DEF production. Meeting ISO 22241 standards requires DEF producers to document the quality and purity of their product and explain any impurities (such as traces of metals or calcium) before purchase. Without these disclosures, buyers take a huge risk when filling their DEF tanks—even if they could save a few dollars in the process.

  • Unauthorized, noncompliant DEF may rely on public water systems or sub-standard urea, rather than high-quality treated solutions. Untreated water can carry additional contaminants and metals, which can inhibit the catalyst’s ability to break down NOx.
  • Unauthorized, noncompliant DEF may be stored in bulk tanks for months, especially when sold at highway truck stops. DEF can be maintained with proper storage for 12 months or more, but temperature fluctuations can reduce its impact once transferred to a truck.
  • Unauthorized, noncompliant DEF may cause direct damage to your truck’s vital components, including the diesel particulate filter and the dosing pump. Poor quality, cloudy DEF is less likely to break down NOx—and more likely to break down your truck’s engine.

Mitigating risks with BlueDEF®

Your drivers are already busy doing their jobs. The last thing you want them to deal with is a broken-down truck from DEF failures. The fluid that goes into your DEF tanks should perform exactly as promised, making your life easier and the environment safer.

Here’s how you can keep trucks running smoothly with BlueDEF® in their tanks:

  1. BlueDEF® keeps impurities out of your SCR systems
    • Any lingering calcium, metals, or other impurities threaten the ability to dispel NOx from the SCR. BlueDEF® follows API and ISO 22241 standards for DEF purity, comprising 67.5% purified water and 32.5% ultra pure automotive-grade urea. By limiting impurities from reaching the SCR, you can reduce deposit buildup and prevent additional exhaust system maintenance.

  2. BlueDEF® can be stored in various sizes to account for temperature changes
    • If you have limited storage space, large temperature fluctuations, and short DEF shelf life, you can opt for smaller 2.5-gallon boxes of BlueDEF® for quicker disbursement. If you have plenty of space for your DEF storage needs, you can opt for larger 55-gallon drums or 330-gallon totes. Larger-capacity options are less susceptible to temperature swings, so you can store them for longer periods with less degradation.

  3. BlueDEF® can extend the life of your truck engines
    • By improving the combustion process and reducing black smoke and hydrocarbon emissions, you can keep your truck engines running for years. Each gallon of BlueDEF® takes about 300 miles to exhaust, with a diesel consumption rate of around 2-4%. Improved fuel efficiency means more miles to travel on a single tank: BlueDEF® vehicles typically average fuel economy increases of 3-5%, saving you time and money.

When you’re researching DEF solutions for your fleet, remember that not all DEF is the same. Poor quality DEF could damage your SCRs, break down your engines, and increase your maintenance costs. Make sure that your trucks are running high-quality DEF, both for the environment and your budget sheet.

We’re proud to offer BlueDEF® at Keller-Heartt Oil to help you optimize and improve your fleet operations. Check out our full selection of diesel exhaust fluid products, and request a quote today! 


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