What Does Diesel Exhaust Fuel Do?

We get a lot of questions about DEF and how to use it effectively on your forecourt, so we asked the expertise of Danny Seals, a forecourt solutions expert, to provide us with some simple answers.

What is DEF?

DEF is a urea-water solution that is injected into the exhaust stream of diesel automobiles to convert NOx gases (harmful emissions) into nitrogen and water. Vehicle manufacturers introduced a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to meet EPA emissions limits in 2010. This is a strategy to achieve the requirements without sacrificing engine performance or fuel economy. DEF isn’t a fuel additive, and it’s kept in its own tank.

Who needs DEF, why?

DEF is required for medium and heavy-duty vehicles equipped with diesel engines manufactured after 2010. To meet emissions rules, the vehicle is configured to inject DEF into the exhaust stream. The engine performance will be diminished and lower speeds will be imposed if the vehicle is allowed to run out of DEF.

What are the different delivery modes of DEF?

DEF is available in a variety of forms. A driver can purchase jugs/containers in a variety of sizes. This necessitates the driver physically transferring the DEF into the car. When installed, DEF can also be dispensed into the vehicle using a fueling dispenser.

Which retailers should offer DEF and what indicators can they use to decide?

Because there is such a vast population of automobiles on the road, DEF is an excellent product for all c-stores to offer. Retailers who sell diesel at their gas stations can utilize the volume sold to estimate the number of diesel customers they have. DEF is required by the majority of today’s heavy-duty trucks. Locations with a separate large truck filling station might think about putting DEF in the dispensers. Because they buy DEF in quantity to keep in their tanks, this results in higher profit margins. Some places that sell a lot of diesel on their forecourt should also consider a dispenser option.

How can Gilbarco help retailers get into DEF?

Since the inception of DEF requirements, Gilbarco has been the industry leader in DEF dispensers. Over the years, we’ve worked with large stores to provide dispenser functionality, and we’ve established the industry standard for this service. Gilbarco assists merchants in entering the DEF dispensing market by providing factory-installed options and retrofitting existing dispensers where DEF is stored in bulk.

What happens when you run out of diesel exhaust fluid?

Vehicle makers must implement procedures to ensure that vehicles cannot run without Diesel Exhaust Fluid, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (DEF). The driver of a vehicle receives a succession of alerts on their dashboard displays before the DEF tank runs out (much the same way as if they were running low on diesel). In general, an amber warning bulb will illuminate when the DEF tank level drops below 10%, flashing at 5%, and solid amber warning light will illuminate when the DEF tank level dips below 2.5 percent.

The engine’s power is lowered, a solid red warning is displayed, and the vehicle’s speed is limited to 5 mph until the DEF tank is refilled if the truck is allowed to run out of DEF.

What is the benefit of diesel exhaust fluid?

After combustion, DEF removes harmful pollutants from the engine. This allows manufacturers to modify engines for more power, lower power consumption, and longer oil change intervals. The DEF system does not necessitate additional cooling or an engine overhaul.

Is DEF bad for diesel engines?

While the water and urea mixture is excellent for the environment, it can cause crystals to form, which can clog fuel filters, damage aircraft engines, and cause engine failure. DEF is sprayed directly into exhaust systems and should never be used as a fuel additive, diesel or airplane.

Q1: Where can I find DEF?

A: Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is widely available at most filling stations and automotive parts retail stores because practically all diesel-powered passenger cars and trucks made since 2010 are fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and require it. A DEF pump is frequently located on the fuel island at truck stops. DEF is also available at key OEM outlets, such as Cummins dealers and distributors. Your fuel provider may be able and willing to deliver DEF directly to you if you have a large enough fleet and storage capacity to justify bulk purchasing.

Cummins Filtration has teamed up with Old World Industries to become the official North American manufacturer, packager, and distributor of Fleetguard Diesel Exhaust Fluid.

Q2: What’s the shelf life of DEF?

A: The shelf life of DEF is determined by the temperature of the storage facility. DEF should be stored between 12°F and 86°F, however if kept below 65°F, the shelf life is increased to two years. To extend the shelf life of DEF, keep it in a climate-controlled location away from direct sunlight.

Q3: What happens if DEF freezes?

A: While DEF does freeze at 12 degrees F, it has no effect on the vehicle’s start-up or operation. The SCR system heats the DEF tank and pipes as the engine starts up, allowing the DEF to thaw quickly and flow to the aftertreatment system regardless of the outside temperature.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid contains 32.5 percent urea and 67.5 percent deionized water in its formulation. DEF will freeze at 12°F (-11°C) in storage or when the engine is not in use. The urea and the water both freeze and thaw at the same pace at this concentration, guaranteeing that you always have the right amount of both. SCR engines are specifically tuned for optimal performance at this ratio, which is why it’s critical to use a high-quality DEF that complies with ISO standards.

There is one operational difference to be aware of: DEF expands when frozen, just like any other water-based fluid (by approximately 7 percent). When the vehicle is turned off in cold weather, the operator should wait 60 seconds before shutting off the batteries to allow the fluid to flow back out of the hoses and into the DEF tank.

Anti-gelling additives and freeze point improvers should never be introduced to DEF since they will obstruct its capacity to function properly and may cause harm to SCR system components.

Q4: How much DEF will my equipment use?

A: DEF consumption varies based on the environment, the equipment’s operation, and the duty cycle. DEF use accounts for 3-5 percent of total fuel consumption on average.

Because most DEF fill-ups occur at the same time as diesel fuel, it’s a good idea to look at utilization from that standpoint. It’s best to simply top off your DEF tank every time you refuel. Adjust your DEF refills accordingly and consider having an extra bottle of DEF on hand if you’re driving a car that sees very little actual activity or is stored in high ambient temps when shelf life is a problem.

Q5: What happens if my equipment runs out of DEF?

A: Like a fuel gauge, all EPA 2010 engines with SCR are equipped with a gauge that displays the DEF fluid level. Furthermore, they are fitted with a set of flashing lights that warn the operator when the DEF tank is running low on fluid. Vehicle speed will be limited if the DEF reservoir is not replenished and becomes low, but if DEF is injected, the engine will resume regular speed levels. A wise precaution would be to have a top-off gallon jug of DEF on each piece of equipment equipped with an EPA 2010 engine and aftertreatment system.

Engines built before to July 8, 2011 may function differently than those listed here. For more information, contact your local Cummins agent and request Cummins Bulletin 4971316, “Driver Tips For Fire And Emergency Vehicles.”

What happens when you run outta DEF?

To ensure that owners take their clean-air obligations seriously, the EPA requires manufacturers of new light-duty diesels to halt the engine’s usual startup sequence if the DEF runs out. To avoid leaving owners stranded on the side of the road, every diesel vehicle manufacturer gives plenty of notice when it’s time to add DEF.

Our Range Rover has a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine that gets its DEF from a 4.8-gallon tank under the floor beneath the driver’s seat. The fill cap for that reservoir is located under the hood, atop the left fender. A full DEF tank should last 6300 miles, according to the owner’s manual, however as we all know, mileage varies.

While our Range Rover lacks a DEF gauge (other vehicles now do), the driver may access the service menu in the display between the tachometer and speedometer to see how many miles remain until the fuel runs out. There’s a comment under the Next Oil Change header that says “DEF refill XXX miles” with the motor off.

We quickly learned that the first warning is transient and easy to overlook. The first notification, “Diesel exhaust fluid level low,” appears roughly 1500 miles before the no-restart Armageddon, according to Land Rover. We must have missed that notification since, 969 miles from the finish, one of our editors on a weekend excursion noted: “First DEF warning sighted.” The cluster display had no orange triangle, and an inattentive motorist would have missed it. I didn’t get a chance to photograph the notice before it vanished.”

Can I use water instead of DEF?

It’s unlikely that removing the urea from the DEF — that is, running water through the injectors instead — will harm the system because the level and quantity of corrosive reactants inside the stainless steel SCR system will be reduced.

Is diesel exhaust fluid made from pig urine?

That’s why, starting in 2010, all diesel trucks were required to have systems dedicated to putting DEF to use. Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which is made up of 32.5 percent urea and 67.5 percent de-ionized water, is sprayed into a vehicle’s exhaust system to aid in the breakdown of NOx emissions, converting them to harmless nitrogen and water. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Urea is a type of urea. You’re on the right brainwave if that sounds oddly like ‘urine.’ When a body metabolizes protein, it produces urea, an organic molecule. (We do, in fact, excrete it as pee.) However, despite DEF’s moniker, “Diesel Exhaust Fluid is really constructed of commercial-grade urea—synthetic ammonia and carbon—and is referred to as “pig urine.”

To put it another way, the urea and water in DEF heat up and produce ammonia. The NOx emissions are subsequently neutralized as the ammonia breaks down. The tail pipe emits fewer harmful substances, allowing everyone to breathe a little better.

What does Blue def?

BlueDEF SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) systems in diesel automobiles employ Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which is a blend of high purity synthetic urea and deionized water. DEF is a chemical that aids in the conversion of NOx into harmless nitrogen and water.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is a fundamental component of the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) process, which is employed by diesel engine manufacturers to comply with EPA 2010 rules. BlueDEF is a harmless solution made out of 67.5 percent purified water and 32.5 percent automotive-grade urea. BlueDEF isn’t a gasoline or a gasoline additive. Instead, when BlueDEF is injected into the exhaust stream and passed via a catalyst, it aids in the conversion of NOx to nitrogen gas and water vapor, both of which are safe and natural components of the air we breathe.

  • BlueDEF’s Purity Guarantee ensures that the DEF you’re buying has been rigorously tested to meet or exceed OEM specifications.
  • It complies with the ISO-22241-1 DEF specification and is a diesel exhaust fluid recognized by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Why do diesels need DEF?

If you’re new to owning a diesel vehicle or heavy equipment, you should be aware of a key additive. Diesel Exhaust Fluid is what it’s called (DEF). Aqueous urea solution 32 percent, or AUS 32, is another name for this ingredient. 32.5 percent urea and 67.5 percent de-ionized water are used to make it. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about DEF.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that diesel engines cut their emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in 2010. Diesel Exhaust Fluid, an additive, is used to achieve this reduction (DEF).

This fluid helps to reduce NOx emissions and pollution in the air. As a result, it aids heavy machinery and trucks in adhering to federal pollution standards. Heavy-duty diesel trucks and equipment have featured a diesel tank and a separate diesel exhaust fluid tank since 2010.

Can I put ammonia in my DEF tank?

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there concerning Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). Many diesel engines require DEF as an additive. Its creation and implementation represented a big step forward in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. DEF, when used in engines using Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) technology, reduces NOx and particulate matter emissions by 90%, resulting in a near-zero emission level.

DEF is a non-hazardous, watery solution made up of 32.5 percent urea and 67.5 percent de-ionized water, if that wasn’t remarkable enough. “Urea?” you inquire. “Isn’t that simply pee?” you might wonder. Not at all. That’s just another one of those annoying DEF myths that still exists today. We at NEXGEN DEF wish to help clear up some misconceptions about DEF. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequent DEF myths so you can empower yourself with the facts.

DEF is toxic: FALSE

DEF is a non-flammable, non-toxic, and non-hazardous fluid. It does not require special handling and does not pollute the environment. It has a pH of 9.0, which is similar to that of regular baking soda. For the sake of comparison, water has a pH of 7.0. DEF is manufactured from urea, a nitrogen-rich chemical that is commonly used in fertilizers. It’s easily absorbed by plants, allowing them to grow rapidly. Urea is used in agriculture to the tune of 90% of the world’s supply. The type utilized in automotive grade items is even less harmful than agriculture grade.

DEF is less harmful than diesel fuel, engine oil, braking fluid, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid, among other fluids in your truck.

DEF is pumped into the exhaust stream of your car, where it reacts with the NOx in the SCR catalyst. As a result, NOx and DEF combine to generate nitrogen and water, both of which are naturally occurring constituents in the air we breathe. This is better to NOx, which causes acid rain, smog, and the growth in greenhouse gas levels, from an environmental (and safe working) standpoint.

DEF is urine: FALSE

Has anyone ever told you that urea is animal urine? Or is it the same as human urine? Not at all. Synthetic urea has been made from synthetic ammonia and carbon dioxide in a heated, sealed method since the 1930s.

The automotive-grade urea used in DEF fulfills the American Petroleum Institute’s stringent production and emissions criteria.

DEF makes use of a considerably purer, particulate-free urea than is required for agricultural applications. DEF is 32.5 percent urea and 67.5 percent de-ionized water. In comparison, human pee contains extremely little urea.

DEF is hard to use: FALSE

DEF is a liquid that can be purchased from bigger, commercial filling stations or from automotive components and lubricant providers off the shelf. It’s as simple as topping off your windshield wiper fluid to refill the DEF tank.

You don’t have to replenish your DEF supply every time you fill up your tank. Depending on how much you’re transporting, you’ll consume around 2.5 gallons of DEF every 800 miles or so, which equates to about five to ten refills per year.

DEF is unstable: FALSE

At any temperature, urea does not become poisonous. Freezing and thawing have no effect on DEF’s chemical composition. DEF will meet ISO standards of less than 0.2% ammonia for at least 35 days, even at high temperatures (which are prevented by the cooling and temperature stabilizing architecture of DEF engines). It would take nearly two years to obtain the ammonia levels found in household ammonia at that temperature. DEF is, in a nutshell, quite stable.

A CSR/DEF vehicle gets poor gas mileage: FALSE

Fact: Vehicles equipped with DEF receive comparable fuel mileage to vehicles equipped with other emissions-reducing technology.

You may as well choose the CSR/DEF vehicle because emissions are regulated and you must satisfy specific requirements. You’ll notice improved fuel economy and more power. Lower maintenance costs arise from less wear and tear on your engine.

Commercial carriers who use DEF vehicles benefit from improved combustion and less concerns with regeneration.

Want to learn more about DEF and how it may help your engine and the environment? Check out our article on the progression of the diesel engine to clean-burning DEF.

Your DEF expert

NEXGEN is the leading DEF supplier in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve even expanded to include a new production plant in SeaTac that can produce a million gallons of DEF every month. We now provide NEXGEN DEF to Seattle and western Canada through our SeaTac facility.

Our most recent step was to bring our product to the pump by installing NEXGEN DEF dispensers in a rising number of Cardlocks around Oregon, making it easier than ever to get the most up-to-date diesel system technology.