A word in Urea - AdBlue explained


Mention the word urea and a number of things are likely to spring to mind. The key component of nitrate fertiliser, for example, might be your first thought, or a solid substance fish excrete in place of urine.

Others still might tell you it is a key component of hair removal creams such as Nair and Veet.

Yep, it’s pretty useful stuff is urea. It gets everywhere!

One thing you might be surprised to hear though, is urea is helping to reduce air pollution caused by diesel engines through a product called AdBlue.


What is AdBlue?

Automotive grade urea is put in solution with water to form AdBlue which is being used in the latest round of diesel engines to help meet the requirements of the Euro 6 regulations. Euro 6 limits particulate matter and nitrous oxide emissions for diesel road cars.

Since 2006, diesel engines have employed Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology which involves injecting precise amounts of AdBlue into a vehicle’s exhaust gases. Urea undergoes hydrolysation in the water to form ammonia, and this reacts with the harmful nitrogen oxide emissions, converting them into nitrogen and water which are then expelled from the exhaust pipe.

This process has a dramatic effect on reducing harmful pollutants released into the atmosphere.


Using AdBlue in Your Car

If you bought a new diesel car registered in 2016 or afterwards, the chances are it uses SCR technology and AdBlue. The same goes for off-road diesel engines such as tractors and other agricultural vehicles, and those used in construction.

Buses and lorries have used this technology for many years, so there is a lot of evidence to show how effective it is.

AdBlue sits in a separate tank to diesel and unlike petrol or diesel, isn’t injected into the engine, it is injected into the exhaust system. The filler cap is often located in the boot.

However, under normal driving conditions, you won’t need to top it up yourself. AdBlue is used in small quantities so is usually topped up when your car is being serviced. Peugeot, for example, estimates that its cars can travel up to 12,000 miles before needing a top up. A VW Passat needs to be topped up around every 6,000 miles.

However, if you are a high mileage driver, then you might need to top the tank up yourself. While this isn’t difficult, it is important to ensure you choose the right product.


Topping Up Your AdBlue Tank

There are several ways you can top up your AdBlue tank. Firstly, some service stations have AdBlue dispensing pumps. Alternatively, garages, filling stations and other retailers selling portable containers of AdBlue, and high mileage users often carry one of those with them should the warning light come on. With these, you can top up in the same way you do your window wiper spray.

Some manufacturers, however, recommend taking your car to a dealership if you need to top up, which they will do for a fairly low, fixed price.


Buying AdBlue with a Fuel Card

Most leading fuel card networks will accept fuel cards as a method of payment for AdBlue sold via pumps on garage forecourts. This is great news for our fuel card customers as many of the fuel cards we offer at Fuelmate can be used to purchase AdBlue and lubricants as well as fuel.

If you have a requirement for AdBlue purchases on your fuel card, get in touch today so we can advise on the most suitable card for your needs.