AdBlue, to limit the pollution of diesel vehicles

The new anti-pollution standards are more and more demanding. They have pushed car manufacturers to address the issue of reducing pollution and the need to act to preserve our environment. It is from this ecological emergency that AdBlue was born. But what is it really about? Is it a truly spectacular product? And are there any downsides to using it? We guide you to a better understanding of this product.

What is AdBlue?

THEAdBlue is an additive developed for meet the specific needs of the diesel engine, while limiting the polluting impact of this fuel. A tank to receive this liquid is installed on new vehicles placed on the market and which are subject to the Euro 6 standard in application since September 1, 2014.

These vehicles are specially equipped with a selective catalytic reduction system (SRC). This device is suitable for reducing emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), unburnt hydrocarbons (HC), fine particles (PM) but also nitrogen oxides (Nox). The SRC has already been present since 2005 on heavy goods vehicles and tends to impose itself on new vehicles leaving the factory. It is developed to reduce our impact on the environment and deal with the inconvenience produced by the diesel engine.

How does AdBlue work?

AbBlue BP Pump

This additive solution is used in the SCR to transform nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water vapor which are naturally present in the air we breathe. The action of AdBlue converts a harmful polluting gas into two elements that are not dangerous for nature and our health.

This solution, composed of demineralized water (67,5%) and urea (32,5%), does not present a risk of explosion or risk of igniting. It is not aggressive for the environment, but can become corrosive when it comes into contact with certain metals. AdBlue guarantees the standards by respecting the ISO 22241 standard and the DIN 70070 quality. Using other additives would be risky for the durability and operation of your vehicle.

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When AdBlue is injected into the catalyst, it enters into a chemical reaction with the exhaust gases and attenuates the presence of polluting components. The ammonia molecules that are present in urea are released to oxidize the Nox produced by a diesel engine. The transformation is moving towards the production of nitrogen and water vapor, which are then released into the ambient air. The action takes place as soon as the temperature of 190 ° C is reached.

Which vehicles use AdBlue?

Only vehicles with an SCR system can use the AdBlue additive. The latter is already present on part of the truck fleet. It is installed on many other vehicles such as utility trucks, camper vans or even people carriers and 4 × 4 vehicles. For some time now, many vehicles have been fitted as standard with an SCR which is composed of a catalyst, a specific tank for AdBlue, an additive injection unit and a control to properly dose AdBlue. Furthermore, the product is only intended for engines powered by diesel.

How should you use the Adblue additive?

This additive should not be mixed with fuel like many other additives. Vehicles fitted with an SCR must have a tank adapted to accommodate AdBlue. The additive must therefore be added to this reservoir, which is closed by an easily recognizable blue cap. When the tank is empty, a warning light comes on on your dashboard to warn you that you need to top up AdBlue. The tank is located in different locations depending on the vehicle model. Thus, it can be located in the same place as the fuel tank hatch, but also under the hood of the car or in the trunk. You should know that a vehicle with SCR will not work if you do not add AdBlue.

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What precautions should be taken ?

The product is not harmful to the environment, but it can be corrosive when in contact with certain materials such as metal. So avoid spilling it when you fill your tank. Clean your hands after use.

Regarding the conservation of cans, you have to be very careful. AdBlue does not tolerate UV rays and risks losing quality if it undergoes any type of contact. It should therefore be stored in a place protected from light. It also does not like extreme temperatures (freezing and hot weather), the ideal temperature to store it being between 0 and 30 ° C.

In addition, it does not withstand storage that exceeds 18 months. So quickly use the doses you have and buy the containers according to your needs. You will find ibc 1000 liters in bulk, cans of 210 liters or 10 liters. Choose the solution that best suits your AdBlue consumption.

Advantages and disadvantages of AdBlue

This product has many advantages, but also some disadvantages that must be taken into consideration.


  • AdBlue is developed to make diesel engines less polluting and reduce our impact on the environment.
  • SCR technology is known to be very effective in acting on nitrogen oxides and Nox which recently caused a scandal among certain car manufacturers.
  • Most future cars will be equipped with this system to ensure compliance with European standards.
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  • Even if the product is not that expensive, it still represents an additional cost in the long run. It is therefore advisable to purchase the containers in large quantities to reduce costs. The purchase of small containers at a gas station or from the manufacturer can quickly turn into a financial pit.
  • The SCR tanks of equipped vehicles are still too small to completely eliminate pollution linked to exhaust gas.
  • When the AdBlue tank is empty, your vehicle loses power and may also refuse to start.
  • AdBlue consumption also depends on how you drive and the type of vehicle used.
  • If the warning light comes on, there is still a small reserve of AdBlue, but refueling should not be delayed so as not to affect the operation of the vehicle.

Learn more? Ask your questions about the forum transport and engines

4 comments on “AdBlue, to limit the pollution of diesel vehicles”

  1. All this is inaccurate because diesel kills. The ICCT report (International Council
    on Clean Transportation) of February 2019 demonstrates that two-thirds of
    excess mortality caused by air pollution in France are linked to
    diesel engines.
    And this concerns the latest models as well as the older ones. This explains
    for two main reasons, that the defenders of diesel often feign
    forget. The first reason is the chemical nature of the particles from
    diesel engines - different from those of gasoline engines. It's for this
    because the International Agency for Research on Cancer ranked them
    as "certain carcinogens" in 2012. All the talk about the amount of
    particles is only meant to make us forget the health problem
    major related to the chemical composition of particles.
    The second reason is that diesel engines emit a lot of
    nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas that is toxic to the respiratory system and
    cardiovascular. Five to six times more than a gasoline vehicle! Levels of
    NO2 exceed the legal limits in most major
    French agglomerations - because of diesel engines.
    The Court of Justice of the European Union is specifically suing France for
    these reasons. The diesel industry replies that new
    decontamination, such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with additive-type
    Ad Blue, solve the problem. Unfortunately, that's wrong, and
    we never stopped to recall our doubts about the engines
    diesel. Indeed, driving with cold start and over short distances, in
    city, does not allow to reach the temperature necessary for the good
    operation of these pollution control systems, which leads to significant
    releases of nitrogen dioxide. Worse, by not working properly, the
    Ad Blue systems release NH3 and NO2 that can - by combining -
    form secondary fine particles!
    This malfunction also leads to the production of protoxide
    nitrogen (N2O), a greenhouse gas 300 times more powerful than CO2. Of
    same, the catalysts limiting the emissions of aromatic hydrocarbons
    polycyclic agents (PAHs), extremely toxic and carcinogenic agents,
    operate little in town and at startup when the engine is cold.
    As for particle filters, they require regular maintenance that does not
    subject of any regulation. Finally, they let nanoparticles escape
    even more toxic and which, because of their size, will be able to penetrate the system
    cerebral and especially the placenta, as has recently been
    demonstrated on diesels equipped with particulate filters.
    Tests performed on diesel vehicles covered by the Euro 6d-Temp standard
    show that in conditions more representative of the actual conduct of
    users, N2O and fine particle emissions soar, up to
    nine times the allowed limits. Proof of its insufficiency, the standard Euro 6d-
    Temp needs to be revised in 2019 following the complaint from the cities of Paris, Brussels and

    1. Adblue precisely limits NOx emissions so this is not wrong, deaths are avoided thanks to Adblue!

      The Adblue does nothing, on the other hand, on particles (fine or less fine): this is the role of the particulate filter which is almost standard on all recent diesel (before it could be offered… as an option! A shame!)

      1. To go in this direction, I was looking in 2020 for a replacement vehicle for my aging, 20-year-old petrol Berlingo (so I do not subscribe to overconsumption). I tried, consistent with my annual mileage, to buy a new petrol vehicle, at the time of the conversion bonus. Unfortunately, in My price range and with an equivalent model from the manufacturers, only the SCR models passed the new European standards: Do you hear? EUROPEAN!!!. Petrol models were not eligible for the premium. The choice of the model being stopped for me, I chose for this fact and not only for economic arguments, a model powered by an SCR diesel engine. In good faith, also with ecological convictions and without imagining to harm the health of my family, friends, neighbors or compatriots. We are talking here about cold operation, in town which would be more polluting? (you can come from 3Okm, hot engine and be banned from ZFE, right?).
        OK, well… but all the studies do not agree on the level of pollution and in particular concerning Nox, in particular for this SCR technology. What about the electric which we know that there is a need for a certain mileage to turn off (exceed) the carbon weight of a conventional car, what about when they are produced in China (it's not us who produce, so it doesn't matter?) and the carbon weight of the import? What about microparticles? Should all vehicles be banned?
        It should be noted that motor vehicles pass the technical inspection with mandatory pollution control. In the end, by piling up successive standards and prohibitions, we end up, based on questionable arguments that are not indisputable from a scientific point of view and according to our CRIT AIR, in an economic and ecological heresy (waste by destroying vehicles functional or as before by exporting them to Africa to replace them with new ones that are even more expensive in carbon). In fact, it is everyone's freedom to come and go that is attacked without compensation.
        When will there be public transport, accessible from the entrance to the cities, which means accessible at strategic points in the cities, punctual and transporting us in a reasonable time, with no striker surprises. This is the real debate. The city of Paris is the demonstration of this failure.

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