Blue help for the green Conscience

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A nondescript liquid brings the automobile color theory mess: to smoke Instead of black, therefore, the diesel models will in future have to be pretty green. This is due to a chemical called AdBlue. Where does the clean potion, anyway?

Tom Grünweg

Tom Grünweg

More of Tom’s articles Grünweg

Monday, 19.05.2008
09:41 PM

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The diesel engine makes blue. To meet the strict exhaust gas limit values in the United States, to force be split by the German manufacturer – Mercedes – a technology with the harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the exhaust into harmless nitrogen and water. In the case of small and light vehicles, this is achieved with a so-called NOx storage catalyst, however, large sedans, or all-terrain vehicles in need of more complex technology in order to detoxify the exhaust gases. The process is called selective catalytic reduction (SCR).


Exhaust gas additive AdBlue: Hazardous nitrogen oxides are made by AdBlue is harmless

To set this reaction in motion, must be sprayed an additive into the exhaust gas, which is converted in the diesel smoke to ammonia and the nitrogen oxides in a special SCR catalytic Converter into harmless constituents splits. The injection fluid is an aqueous urea solution. Because of the sanitary Association, marketing people used to invent the germ-free term AdBlue. The word, in turn, influenced the naming of the clean diesel models – of Bluetec in Mercedes to Blue Performance BMW.

In the passenger Car sector, the technology is still a largely American theme. Because while in the USA the E-class from Mercedes power for more than a year blue, the Swabians soon the first Bluetec SUV on the US market and the competition rolls also had a blue Diesel in the Position in this country, it is only the Mercedes E – to-buy 300 Bluetec and driving without additive.

“The infrastructure for a European Start-up of AdBlue in the Car a long time ago,” says Carsten Höhne, product Manager at BASF. “Because Trucks were already around five years ago, on the purifying effect of the blue solution.” So had been sold in Europe currently, five manufacturers in the past year, between 250 and 300 million litres of AdBlue, estimates Höhne. While Trucker AdBlue need to fill up to the liter prices of between 0.35 and 0.80 Euro at almost every fuel stop, it is for Car drivers much easier. Are planned for the AdBlue tank in the car, which can hold enough urea, the liquid of the workshops during the normal maintenance dates can be refilled.

The urea for the car is actually ammonia

Even if the word urea, it suggests – with the urine, AdBlue has nothing in common. But the 90 percent in the fertilizer industry used urea is chemically nothing more than a safe storage form of ammonia, to both farmers and the engine developers actually says Höhne. The extracted from natural gas, basic material will be transformed into a so-called Gassynthese in a ratio of 2:1 with carbon dioxide to urea and is concentrated in AdBlue. While human urine contains only three to four per cent urea and in addition all sorts of interfering substances from protein to residual alcohol, the proportion in AdBlue is 32.5 percent. “The Rest is a high-purity water”, says Höhne.

Even if AdBlue is a chemical, you need not fear dealing with the substance, said BASF. “The solution is classified in water hazard class 1,” explains company spokeswoman Andrea Hoerdt. “That is to say: If there is a leak in the Tank, a sufficient rinsing with water is sufficient. And also for people AdBlue in commercial quantities, is neither an irritant nor poisonous.” Not for nothing, urea was due to its fat effect is an important component of some skin creams, added Hoerdt. Also in the cosmetic world, as the chemical carries a deck name and operates as Urea.

The infrastructure for AdBlue is already available

How much AdBlue is in need of the passenger Car fleet in Europe, is not yet possible to predict. Many factors are just too uncertain: in the future, even in larger vehicles, the NOx cat? We drive the car soon anyway, just a little? And as the race between gasoline, Diesel, Hybrid or electric drive goes on? These are the issues on which the calculation of Requirements is attached. However, in the wind shadow of the Truck of the Car is anyway. “While it is calculated by the car, based on the diesel consumption, with less than one percent of AdBlue, you will need a Truck for around five per cent Instead of 30 litres to 30,000 kilometers of the 450-Liter”, attributed to Höhne.

No matter how fast and how well blue Diesel passenger Cars in Europe – to establish not going to supply shortages, it will come, – the expert believes. “As for the exploding, fast-growing demand in the commercial vehicles we are building just such a large capacity that our buffer is enough easily for many, many Cars.” And also a distribution network has been established, the chemical giant already. Because of him, so the blue future could start soon, even in the Car.

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