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Three Questions for Handling and Storage of DEF

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) has become better known throughout the transportation industry in the past few years, but it is still relatively new to many fleet executives, truckers, and even distributors. Since DEF is in the early stages of adaption, it is important to educate the public about it now so that the incorporation of the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology is easier. There are many questions concerning the handling and storage of DEF, and this gap in education can cause miscommunication and can lead to confusion when dealing with the purchase, handling, use, and storage of DEF. We here at Victory Blue want to work on educating people about diesel exhaust fluid! Read on to learn about the handling and storage of DEF.


storage of DEF


The Solution Question

We are often asked if the urea solution of 32.5% is crucial to maintaining the system. The answer is absolutely yes. The reason why the 32.5% urea solution is so important is because it provides the lowest freezing point for DEF. Additionally, the SCR systems are calibrated to the 32.5 percentage to reduce NOx. So what is the freezing point for DEF? The 32.5% urea solution typically has a freezing point of 12 degrees Fahrenheit or -11 degrees Celsius. Another reason why this particular solution is important is because the urea and deionized water freeze and unfreeze at the same rate, ensuring that the DEF is not diluted or overly-concentrated. Essentially, this mixture is vital to ensure the quality of the product and the function of SCR technology.

The Freezing Question

People often have many questions about DEF and the issue of freezing. People want to know how to prevent DEF from freezing and they want to know what happens if it actually does freeze in the tank. These are great questions and we’re excited to share the answers! When a vehicle is  running, the SCR technology heats the DEF tank and supply lines. Therefore, it is highly unlikely for the DEF to freeze when the vehicle is in operation. The DEF is more likely to freeze when the vehicle is not being operated, but the vehicle will start up and run as normal. The SCR system will melt the frozen DEF quickly so that it returns to liquid form and the vehicle will not be impacted. Once people know that DEF can freeze at very low temperatures when off, they want to know if they can add anything to stop DEF from freezing. In short, there is nothing that can be added to the mixture. If something is added, it can ruin the solution and therefore impede its ability to perform correctly and may cause damage to the SCR components. If you make sure that you are following the proper handling and storage of DEF, then you shouldn’t have to worry about DEF freezing.

The Storage Requirements

The most common questions we’re asked about deal with the storage of DEF, which is very important to know. There are some special storage requirements for the urea solution. For example, diesel exhaust fluid cannot be stored or handled in carbon steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc because it will corrode these metals. DEF is sensitive to chemical impurities, which is why it is essential that it be handled carefully to prevent contamination. All DEF containers, such as drums, totes, or even gallon containers should be kept clean and free of dust as much as possible. The reason why it is so important to keep these clean is because DEF is much more likely to be damaged by the materials it touches than to cause damage to the materials. DEF contamination may cause the SCR system to malfunction, which means the pumps and containers used for DEF cannot be used for any other fluids. DEF should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated place. The shelf life of DEF is often included in these questions. The shelf life of DEF is surprisingly long. For example, if it is stored at approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit then the shelf life will be two years. Otherwise, it is typically one year though you can always contact your DEF supplier to find out the exact timelines.