In the world of construction, demolition and agricultural equipment, AdBlue removal has become a major topic for debate, as whilst it is an important, vital, and in some cases legally required substance when driving on the road.
However, whilst that may be the case for vehicles, for construction equipment and equipment exclusively used off-road, the case for AdBlue is somewhat more contentious, and there can be very specific cases where the amount of AdBlue required overrides its environmental benefits.
Here is an explanation of what AdBlue does, its inadvertent issues in the construction industry and why and how you may want to remove it.
What Is AdBlue?
AdBlue is the official trade name for diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a liquid that reduces nitrogen oxides that are found in diesel exhaust emissions.
It is a sterile urea substance that works similarly to how it works in the human body; it safely breaks down nitrogen oxides, a harmful family of pollutants, into nitrogen and water, which are both naturally found in the atmosphere.
It was required as a consequence of more efficient diesel engines, which could use excess air pumped into the engine to reduce the amount of soot and unburned fuel from being expelled from the engine.
Because this produced more nitrogen oxides, and nitrogen oxides both monoxide and dioxide contribute to air pollution and acid rain, DEFs such as AdBlue, a trademark of the VDA, the German Association of the Automotive Industry, became more widely used.
It is fed into the exhaust at a rate of around a litre every 600 miles, depending on how hot the engine gets or how much it is used, based on an engine control unit that measures speed. Operating temperature and other parameters to ensure an optimal amount is used.
What Problems Can It Cause Construction Equipment?
However, when a machine is run at a low temperature, such as driving at low speeds or making short but frequent journeys, AdBlue can be less effective a measure to reduce emissions, and the complexities of the system can cause all manner of problems for a construction fleet.
The Selective Catalytic Reduction system (SCR) which uses AdBlue relies on a range of sensor modules and pumps, which all have the chance of failing and causing adverse results, the worst of which is locking the ignition as if there were no AdBlue in the system.
As well as this, AdBlue can be costly for a huge fleet, potentially costing as much as £1 per litre, as it is not an optional choice such as biofuels. If the ECU detects a deficiency in AdBlue it will display warning lights and refuse to start the engine.
However, for some models of engine, there may be a solution.
What Options Are There For AdBlue Removal?
As the system is linked to the ECU of many modern engines, removing the AdBlue system is a multi-step process. However, once completed, they can bypass the system entirely, allowing a company the option of using AdBlue when it is appropriate and turning it off when on-site.
There are several solutions, but the most simple involves the use of an emulation box, which is fitted inside the cab after the faults have been reset, and will disable the NOx system and AdBlue system, stopping the dashboard lights from firing and ensuring your ignition works every time.