There are plenty of reasons for AdBlue Removal related to the performance of vehicles using it to begin with, but the case for alternatives has been strengthened by major shortages seen in various countries.
As Australia struggles to ramp up urea production to counteract the consequences of China’s ban on its export (aimed at keeping their domestic fertiliser prices down) and the elevated cost of gas has reduced production in Europe, the issue of low supply levels has led to some serious thinking about the sustainability of reliance on AdBlue.
Fitting diesel vehicles to use alternative exhaust fluids is one solution, but the use of larger electric vehicles has also been suggested.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it is hard-hit Australia where the idea has emerged. The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) have produced a joint paper calling for policymakers to accelerate the transition to all-electric vehicles in the haulage industry, The Driven reports.
The paper, titled: “Electric trucks: Keeping shelves in a net-zero world“, does not mention AdBlue specifically, but it contains a section on fuel security that is very relevant to Australia’s current situation with urea supply.
It stated: “Australia’s continued dependence on imported oil will increasingly be threatened by geopolitical tensions, climate change and unprecedented global events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.” Moreover, the report observed, the country only has 20 days storage of diesel.
Clearly, therefore, the problems that can arise with AdBlue run in parallel with those involving diesel, just as in Europe issues with gas costs and storage hamper production of AdBlue.
Of course, a transition to electric vehicles will be a significant challenge and one that will take time. Australia has committed itself to the Paris climate goals and a net zero carbon economy by 2050, which will mean phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles. But the paper notes that to speed up the transition to electric vehicles will require regulatory change and better charging infrastructure.
The same will, of course, be true in the UK, the US and everywhere else that is seeking to make the transition to electric vehicles. In the meantime, the AdBlue crisis is here right now, which means that other solutions are needed in the here and now, however much the situation highlights the benefits of electric vehicle development.
In the meantime, Australia is ramping up AdBlue production, which may help ease the crisis to an extent, although it would be a big ask for prices to be reduced to the levels they were at before the Chinese export ban came into effect.
The other alternative is to have diesel engines equipped so they can use alternatives to AdBlue, with better performance and no risk of problems with AdBlue supplies keeping vehicles off the roads.
While diesel’s time is indeed limited, it can still be measured in years, not months or weeks, which is why, for all the worthy campaigns to speed up preparations for the age of electric vehicles, such future developments are not going to solve the issues of the freight and logistics sector just yet.