Global warming is now an inescapable reality – especially for the trucking industry. After regulations were imposed on truck producers by American environmental regulators, a swathe of large truck models was revamped to fit the tighter environmental restrictions. However, this was also an opportunity for truck producers to create innovative solutions to cut the environmental impact of their products while retaining horsepower and engine capacity. Conventional diesel engines cannot reduce emissions well – a new technology was needed to help lower emissions, diesel exhaust fuel.
What is Diesel Exhaust Fuel?
These producers, like Fuel Logic, found their answer in selective catalytic reduction (SCR). This process could cut down on nitrogen oxide production in engines while improving fuel efficiency – at the same time, producers did not need to fundamentally alter the schematics of their engines to incorporate this process. The end product of this was diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which is a key component of this new type of engine. It contains a mix of approximately one part urea and two parts deionized water. It can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and allow for diesel engines to function at higher temperatures, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions.
However, many truckers still do not know much about the technology right under their pedals. You can read on to know more about the benefits of diesel exhaust fluid.
Trucks that use diesel exhaust fluid can produce the same performance at drastically lowered carbon emissions and fuel usage rates. This is because of how diesel fluid functions – it can decompose nitrogen oxide into its components, nitrogen, and water. Nitrogen oxide is usually toxic when released in its raw form into the environment, and it helps accelerate global warming when it reacts with air to form nitric acid. Hence, diesel exhaust fluid can help mitigate the harmful effects of truck exhaust by catalyzing it into a neutral form.
Environmental benefits do not just end at the overall impact on climate change – nitrogen oxide is also likely to cause bodily harm through prolonged exposure. It makes people more likely to contract respiratory tract diseases, asthma, and even chronic lung disease. Avoiding these will save truckers and transport drivers long-term health costs amounting to tens of thousands of American dollars in healthcare fees.
Adherent To Safety Standards
Diesel exhaust fluid is also a requirement for drivers in America, who need to adhere to restrictions on carbon emissions according to federal law. SCR systems are built to be inoperable if they lack diesel exhaust fluid.
A vast swathe of vehicles involved in commercial activities, therefore, use diesel exhaust fluid, To abide by the restrictions placed by American law. They include passenger transporting vehicles such as shuttle buses, vehicles used for small-scale transportation of goods like lorries and pickups, as well as vehicles involved in large-scale commercial transport like trucks. These vehicles contain this fluid in a compartment that is sequestered away from the main tank.
The Role of Performance
While some wondered if the addition of diesel exhaust fluid would impede the efficiency of engines, it turns out that vehicles that use diesel exhaust fluid have better fuel economy than their counterparts. Truck producers have refitted the internal workings of their products to increase performance and reduce the need for the main engine to produce vehicle exhaust. Hence, vehicles that are not reliant on SCR must fit their internal combustion mechanism to cut nitrogen oxide production. This in turn reduces the efficiency of the vehicle.
Hence, the SCR has been adopted by an increasing number of vehicles. This includes those vehicles that are meant to be used for garbage disposal, container traffic, and construction. SCR has therefore become more prominent in normal industry work. Furthermore, trains also rely on the work of SCR to improve the fuel economy and reduce environmental impacts from the running of their engines.
SCR systems are not just more efficient – as it turns out, they also last longer. The design minimizes attrition within the engine and allows it to outlast non-SCR models. That said, owners are advised to find sources for DEF collection and purchase, to keep their engine in good shape.
Because of this, a variety of dedicated passenger brands have created car models which utilize diesel exhaust fuel, and many brands are likely to introduce similar innovations into their products. Passengers are more likely to buy cars that have efficient and less pollutive engines, meaning that Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Ford are now competing to introduce this technology into their products.
Exhaust Gas Recirculation
Exhaust gas recirculation (ERG) has been adopted by many transport operators in tandem with SCR to reduce emissions further. This involves recirculating the exhaust created by engines to dilute the reactions occurring within the engine itself, allowing for cooler temperatures and less production of nitrogen oxide. However, it also comes at the cost of lower fuel efficiency and increased wear and tear due to the increased complexity of the engines. Hence, companies are also considering using DEF instead of EGR techniques to achieve the same type of outcome without reducing the overall efficiency of the engines they use.
This is relevant for drivers driving large-scale trucks and transport vehicles, as auto firms are transitioning towards offering trucks that use both DEF and EGR. However, marine vehicles are also adopting these technologies in response to regulations for ships’ production of nitrogen oxide. We will likely see a parallel adoption of both these technologies across a wide variety of vehicles in the coming years, as governments become more aware of the threat of carbon emissions and auto firms take increasing steps towards a truly clean diesel engine.
Because of the role of DEF and EGR in modern diesel engines, drivers must understand what roles these minor components of their engines play. There are worrying tendencies for drivers to “delete” or remove the components that help keep their cars’ emissions in check. We encourage all drivers to use DEF and EGR responsibly and do their part for the environment — both as drivers and as human beings. In the meantime, we hope that you will drive on with a renewed understanding of how your car’s engine is helping the global fight to save the world – and get good mileage out of it, too.