How to Prevent AdBlue Crystallisation

Have you experienced AdBlue crystallisation? Our guide explains the common causes of AdBlue crystallisation and how to prevent it.

If you have any questions or need to get in contact regarding AdBlue crystallisation and the solutions we offer, please call our team today on 01908 562191 or fill out an enquiry form.

What is AdBlue?

AdBlue, also known as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), is sprayed on exhaust fumes after combustion and acts as a catalyst for the breakdown of nitrous oxides into harmless nitrogen gas and water. The AdBlue then turns into ammonia and carbon dioxide.

AdBlue properties

  • Colourless (not blue!)
  • Liquid
  • Made from urea and de-ionised water
  • Corrosive

Did you know, it’s been a legal requirement to use AdBlue in diesel engines in the UK since 2015?

What causes AdBlue crystallisation?

AdBlue crystallises when exposed to low temperatures and/or poor storage conditions. At temperatures below -10°c, it will start to freeze, which can clog your machinery and prevent starting. If crystallised AdBlue enters your engine, it can cause extensive damage and even cause failure.

AdBlue crystallisation can also be caused by an exhaust gas temperature below 300°c. Exhaust fumes at this temperature don’t react fully with the AdBlue, meaning ammonia is not produced – urea crystals are formed instead.

How to prevent AdBlue crystallisation

To prevent AdBlue crystallisation, take a look at our top tips below:

  1. Store AdBlue in a cool, dry place.
  2. When thawing frozen AdBlue, thaw it out at room temperature (don’t heat it!).
  3. Buy AdBlue from reputable suppliers only. This helps to ensure it’s of a good quality and doesn’t contain any contaminants that could contribute to crystal formation. Looking at customer reviews can help if you’re buying online.
  4. Keep your AdBlue tank full to insulate the AdBlue and prevent freezing, just like you would with your diesel.
  5. Regularly clean the AdBlue pump and pipeline to remove contaminants.
  6. Store your vehicle in an enclosed, indoor area over winter as this will help to reduce the risk of the AdBlue freezing within the vehicle.
  7. Keep the AdBlue container fully sealed when not in use, as air will cause AdBlue crystallisation. Use a proper storage unit, like bunded AdBlue storage (the inner tank is made from plastic or stainless steel to prevent contamination, and it’s also lockable).
  8. Don’t use containers that have previously contained diesel or oil. Used containers will contaminate your AdBlue, cause AdBlue crystallisation, and potentially damage the Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR).
  9. Over-dosing of DEF can leave crystal deposits in the exhaust or injector nozzles. This is because if there is too much AdBlue, it will not fully break down and deposits will form. Two common causes of DEF over-dosing are open DEF injector nozzles and DEF pump issues.

Prevent AdBlue crystallisation with effective storage solutions

At Ace Plant, we offer a range of storage options that help prevent AdBlue crystallisation.

Our Bundie Bowsers for AdBlue come in 200L, 700L and 1500L specifications.

For storing a greater volume of AdBlue, the Bunded Bundie Store allows for safe and secure storage of 1000L IBC’s, and can also be used to store 25L drums. It’s also fully lockable, with easy access lid and doors for convenient authorised access.

Explore our full range of options for hire.

AdBlue crystallisation can be annoying, expensive and damaging to your machinery. However, there are ways to prevent AdBlue crystallisation, such as by storing the liquid under the right temperature and keeping the DEF tank full. Regularly cleaning the AdBlue pump and pipeline can help reduce contaminants which are likely to cause crystallisation, too.

For more information on effective storage and preventing AdBlue crystallisation, get in touch with our team today!

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