Unipetrol | Fuelling Innovations | Articles
Reducing emissions by the use of urea? Why not?!
While we wait in anticipation of the best alternative fuel option, we can still use the car when we need to, maintain our carbon footprint, and adhere to strict emissions regulations, all at the same time. How is this possible? The answer to our query comes from a rather unexpected place- that is, in the form of urea.
AdBlue is a non-toxic, non-flammable additive that consists of a high quality 32.5% synthetic urea solution in distilled water and helps minimize nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions- the most unpleasant pollutants that come out of a vehicle’s tailpipe and are implicated in causing breathing problems for vulnerable individuals.
The additive was originally designed for use in diesel engines with a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust system. SCR is a method of converting NOx into diatomic nitrogen (N2) and water (H2O), with the aid of a catalyst. In the case of AdBlue, the urea solution in distilled water functions as the catalyst.
Emission reduction with the help of AdBlue is a fairly simple four-step process. Exhaust gases first pass through a filter that removes soot particles. AdBlue, which is kept in a separate tank, is then automatically injected into the exhaust pipe. The next step is the SCR chemical reaction, which breaks nitrogen oxides down into nitrogen and water vapor. The result is these two harmless substances being the only thing that comes out of the vehicle’s exhaust pipe.
AdBlue is neither a fuel itself, nor a fuel additive, but rather a liquid that resides in its own separate tank. This technology has been used in diesel engines and freight vehicles, designed in accordance with Euro 4, since the year 2006. And as the search for the next great alternative fuel continues, AdBlue is increasingly being utilized in passenger cars as well. Due to the increasingly strict and rapidly changing EU emission standards, many automakers today are designing personal vehicles with SRC technology and an AdBlue tank.
A full tank of AdBlue can last from fifteen to twenty thousand kilometers. An orange alert light on the dashboard is triggered when AdBlue starts getting low, often accompanied by a sound signal. This means it’s time to fill up the solution. The alert goes off periodically until AdBlue is topped off, turning red and becoming increasingly more frequent when levels start getting critically low. Once AdBlue runs out completely, the car will not start.
AdBlue can be topped off by a specialist at a service station or by the driver themselves.
Benzina, the largest gas station chain in the Czech Republic, offers AdBlue for personal vehicles directly from the pump at 11 petrol stations. All AdBlue delivered to Benzina stations comes with a certificate of quality, so customers can rest assured that AdBlue at Benzina stations always meets the ISO 22241 norm. Stations that do not offer AdBlue from a pump offer the option of refilling AdBlue from a canister.
So, while scientists continue crafting the perfect alternative fuel, we can carry on driving as needed and help protect our lungs and the environment at the same time.