A quick shout out to our twitter community, you guys all rock. We appreciate every single one of your tweets… and of course, a big thank you to all our new FB followers.
So, here we are on a topic that is often scary to dive into, and I believe it is because of lack of technical knowledge perhaps, you guys decide; but we are eager to jump in.
If you have been paying close attention; you will have noticed the trend towards bulk Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). But what does that really mean? Simply, the fleets are growing, the demand is rising, and there is more of a level of comfort in looking at DEF mini bulk tank storage systems. After all, those drums and totes just keep piling up. Take a look at our heavy-duty US truck fleets growing to its largest size on record during the first quarter of this year. The numbers don’t lie and the number of registered Class 8 vehicles registered at 3.66 million at the beginning of this year, up from 3.55 million in the first quarter of 2013. These sort of numbers show great growth and consequently, reflects a brand new demand, for bulk DEF.
As a result of this new sector growth, we are now being asked about our All In One™ line of DEF mini bulk tank storage systems and the shelf life of Diesel Exhaust Fluid. So, does DEF actually have a shelf life? The simple answer is that is not fixed and will vary, all depending on several external factors. We know that DEF is made up of 2/3 Urea and 1/3 Deionized water. It is the urea in the mixture that actually allows it to have a “shelf life”. What happens is that over time, again dependent on exterior conditions, urea will start to degrade into Ammonia.
Keep in mind that the raw material, Urea, is made up of synthetic ammonia and carbon dioxide. Urea will decompose over time because of temperature and we should add that the process speeds up with higher temperatures. There is also another factor involved, alkalinity levels, typically at the point of blending DEF; it should have an alkalinity of “0”. As heat is introduced, alkalinity levels go up and this is what starts the decomposing process. Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. If DEF is frozen, and maintained frozen, the shelf life increases. However, let’s not go out and start a debate on DEF ice cubes.
Let’s give some parameters to understand temperature points. As DEF approaches product temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it can significantly reduce the shelf life from years to months. So, if you have one of our DEF mini bulk tank storage systems stored inside a warehouse where a “room temperature” like conditions can be observed. Then DEF can remain within spec for a very long time. Here is where I don’t want you to start panicking, because the important point to understand here is really your volume consumption. How fast are you turning your DEF (volume consumption) in direct relationship to outside temperatures? That is the question that remains unanswered on this entry but needs to be answered, so chime in and give us your experience so that we can get to “Part II” of this entry.