Suppliers plan for diesel exhaust fluid

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By Randy Grider

Truck stops shouldn’t worry about meeting the demand for diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which is essential for most 2010 engines. A Detroit Diesel-sponsored panel of DEF producers and distributors told attendees at NATSO Show 2009 in Nashville, Tenn., that supplies will not be problem.

“DEF is readily available,” said Jim Spooner, vice president and general manager of Colonial Chemical Co. The 39-year-old Tabernacle Township, N.J.-based company has more than 12 years of experience in urea, the essential component of DEF, which will be added to selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet 2010 emissions regulations.

All major engine makers will use SCR and DEF, with the exception of Navistar Engine Corp., which is using enhanced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology in its 2010 MaxxForce power units.

DEF suppliers said retailers will have options when purchasing DEF in bulk using underground tanks for distribution, totes, in barrels or in smaller containers, such as 5-gallon or 2.5-gallon capacity. Distributors expect some retailers may move from smaller containers to bulk as demand for the engines increases over the next few years. Pilot Travel Centers, which has more than 325 retail locations, announced last fall it will sell DEF at its fueling islands.

DEF has a shelf life of about one year if stored between 15 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit; storage for extended periods outside these parameters can affect shelf life. Spooner said retailers should buy only DEF that has been certified by the American Petroleum Institute, which should begin certification in the next few months.

DEF is comprised of 32.5-percent pure urea combined with high-purity water. Spooner said DEF is safe and relatively inexpensive. Trucks using SCR engines will have DEF tanks located on the chassis. In the case of Daimler brand trucks, the DEF tanks will come in capacities of 6, 13 and 23 gallons.

David Siler, director of marketing for Daimler, said one advantage of SCR and DEF is fuel economy, which should increase 3 to 5 percent. “With our new DD15 engine using our BlueTec technology, we show an increase of 7 percent fuel economy over our 2009 Detroit Diesel Series 60 engines,” Siler said.