ADBLUE®, THE MAGIC BULLET THAT REDUCES EMISSIONS IN EURO VI-COMPLIANT ENGINES
For more than 20 years, European standards have regulated vehicle exhaust emissions. Limits have been established for carbon monoxide (CO), unburned hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates. Over the years, standards have grown progressively stricter to help improve air quality.
The Euro VI emission standard for cars and commercial vehicles, which took effect in September 2014, slashed the ceiling on NOx emissions — nitrogen oxides produced during fuel combustion — by diesel vehicles.
Carmakers rose to the challenge through the blanket adoption of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, already widely used by trucks, in addition to particulate filters, which are systematically installed to reduce particulate emissions.
Most new diesel cars produced since September 2014 are equipped with SCR technology. To work, SCR needs AdBlue®, a mixture of water and urea (ammonia) that turns up to 85% of the NOx into water vapor and harmless nitrogen. All vehicles equipped with SCR are also have a separate tank for this diesel exhaust fluid. That means their new owners also have to fill up with AdBlue®. The size of the tank varies from 8 to 25 liters. On average, the solution needs to be topped up every fifth diesel fill-up.
AdBlue® is injected at a pressure of five bar into the exhaust pipe downstream of the engine. The amount of AdBlue® injected is controlled electronically and varies depending on a number of factors, such as the temperature of the exhaust gases, the speed and weight of the vehicle and the percentage of NOx detected in the exhaust gases.
Oxydes d’azote (NOx) = Nitrogen oxide (NOx)
Ammoniac (NH2) = Ammonia (NH3)
Azote = Nitrogen (N2)
Eau (H2O) = Water (H2O)
MOTEUR DIESEL = DIESEL ENGINE
Gaz d’échappement = Exhaust gases
Pot catalytique = Catalytic converter
AdBlue® has been available in various container sizes — mainly in bulk and drums — and at the pump in Total's AS24 network (SCR was deployed for trucks starting with the Euro IV standard) since 2005, and can also be found at some Total and Total Access service stations. Packaging has been tailored to the needs of cars and trucks (5- and 10-liter containers).
On the production side, starting this year Total will be manufacturing AdBlue® at the plant operated by its affiliate Alvea in Montpouillan, southwestern France, and as of 2017 at its La Mède complex in southern France.
That means dealers who use AdBlue® for fleet maintenance and the passenger cars they sell can purchase the solution in 1,000-liter intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) or regular containers from Total. In addition to AdBlue® for Euro VI-compliant engines, car owners still need to use a premium engine oil designed specifically for their vehicles.