Ever wondered why diesel engines require diesel exhaust fluid? It all has to do with the fact that diesel engines emit more pollutants than traditional internal combustion engines. Before environmental protection agencies developed more stringent regulations regarding the emissions that cars were allowed to produce, diesel engine emissions went largely unregulated, meaning that large trucks were producing a high amount of pollutants. With more regulations to hinder the release of nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, diesel exhaust fluid was invented to reduce the amount of air pollution created by diesel engines.
If you’re considering a career as an auto mechanic, understanding the purpose and benefits of diesel exhaust will help you to properly equip diesel vehicles with the resources they need to reduce their environmental impact. Read on to learn more about diesel exhaust fluid, how it works, and why it’s important.
What Exactly is Diesel Exhaust Fluid? An Explanation for Auto Mechanic College Students
For those in automotive careers, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is best understood when the concept of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) is explained. SCR is a technology which works to dissolve harmful gases that are released through a vehicle’s exhaust system. The technology is especially effective in diesel engines. SCR requires diesel exhaust fluid – a single liquid-reductant agent made up of urea and deionized water – in order to work. It is then injected into the exhaust stream of a diesel vehicle, where it reduces hazardous emissions to nitrogen and water by around 90%. As nitrogen and water themselves are not harmful to the environment, diesel exhaust fluid works to prevent harmful pollutants from entering the atmosphere.
How Does Diesel Exhaust Fluid Actually Work?
In order for diesel exhaust fluid to effectively convert the harmful compounds of nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide into nitrogen and water within an SCR-equipped vehicle, there are a few different processes that need to happen first. Firstly, the exhaust gas from the engine is transferred through a particulate filter, where the soot and ash are gathered to purify the gas. Next, the gas is transferred to the catalytic converter, receiving a spray of diesel exhaust fluid on its way. The fluid and gas both enter the catalytic converter, where a reaction between these elements and different compounds takes place to complete the conversion to nitrogen and water. As a professional auto technician, it’s important to note that this is a simplified version of the process – but knowing the basics will help you to understand the importance of utilizing diesel exhaust fluid in diesel engines.
Additional Benefits of Diesel Exhaust Fluid
In addition to being used in diesel engines for vehicles, diesel exhaust fluid is now being used in marine diesels. It has helped to prevent ships from polluting oceans, keeping marine ecosystems healthy. Diesel exhaust fluid is made with ingredients that are readily available, making it cheap and simple to produce in high volumes and use in a wide range of diesel engines. What’s more, diesel exhaust fluid increases fuel efficiency by keeping exhaust systems functional and effective. Given the many benefits of diesel exhaust fluid, both for the health of diesel engines and the environment, auto professionals are likely to witness a growth in its use in years to come.
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