AdBlue, or diesel exhaust fluid, is an additional liquid used in diesel engines to lower the concentration of nitrogen oxides and thus reduce air pollution.
Ever since the Euro 6 Diesel regulations came into force in 2015, there has been a focus on reducing emissions after a series of studies connected nitrous oxides (NOx) with respiratory issues, with one of the more controversial methods used to reach stringent targets being the use of AdBlue.
The liquid has been subject to a huge range of myths and mistruths, in no small part because the effects of the fluid differ considerably for off-road construction vehicles compared to HGVs and vehicles, and AdBlue removal for the former has become increasingly popular amongst construction firms.
Here are some of the most common myths about AdBlue debunked.
It Is Not Always A Legal Requirement To Have It
Many construction and agricultural vehicles can technically be driven on the road, and when they are, they need to meet the stringent requirements of a road vehicle, such as having a registration plate and meeting emissions standards.
However, the Euro 6 Diesel standards are designed with roadgoing vehicles in mind, which travel longer distances at higher speeds, which allows AdBlue to work at its most efficient level.
For short journeys and on-site use, AdBlue is often used by an engine control unit (ECU) unnecessarily, and for a large fleet of construction machinery that has to have the mixture to function, this cost can add up.
It Is Not Made From Urine
A somewhat crude rumour that has persisted in some circles is that it is made with urine, either from animals (pig urine often being cited) or humans. This is completely untrue, but more in terms of origin than function.
The confusion comes from AdBlue’s primary ingredient: urea. Urea, also known in some chemical solutions as carbamide, is a compound that breaks down nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water, two harmless substances found in abundance in the air.
Urea is also a major part of the renal system, where one of its purposes is very similar to its use in AdBlue. Because the first purpose that comes to mind when people who are less familiar with either agriculture or engineering is the body, the rumour persisted.
The urea used in AdBlue is completely synthetic, made with ammonium cyanite in a process that was first discovered in 1828. Interestingly, Friedrich Wöhler, the first person to describe the process, found that this disproved a major scientific theory and created the starting point of modern chemistry.
The reason for this is that since urea could be developed in a lab, it disproved the idea that only living organisms could produce life-sustaining chemicals.
Its Absence Will Not Damage An Engine
There is a fear that due to the complexities of modern diesel engines that running out of AdBlue or simply not using it will cause damage to their engine. This is not entirely true, although if you run out of it whilst driving or operating a machine it can feel like it.
The confusion lies in how the ECU reacts to AdBlue running out. If the fluid runs out whilst the vehicle is in operation, it will reduce engine performance significantly to ensure it meets the Euro 6 Diesel standards, causing a noticeable drop in power.
As well as this, if you try to start the machine without any AdBlue, it simply will refuse to turn on until it is refilled.
Not having AdBlue does not affect the engine and using an emulation or deletion unit will not cause long term damage to your engine.