Diesel Exhaust Fluid and the Marine Industry

As of last year, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) started phasing in the new regulations for diesel engines in the marine industry. Now nearly half way through 2015, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is all the more important, even required, for commercial vessels.


Yacht and other small boats in the ocean

An Increasing Need for DEF

The EPA started with their plans to implement new emission standards on diesel engines back in 1998. The first target was the commercial trucking industry. Then the new emission standards requiring selective-catalytic-reduction (SCR) systems moved outside of trucking to include off-road vehicles such as backhoes, tractors, dump trucks, combines, large generators, bulldozers, and other similar equipment and vehicles for land use.

However, more recently, the same emission standards have moved to include commercial water vessels. When the EPA passed the new standard back in 2004, with plans to phase into it over the next decade, the expectation was to require a reduction in the allowable amount of sulfur in marine diesel fuel by 99%. Such a drop would require not only a new design to diesel engines, but also a SCR that implemented diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to aid in the reduction of sulfur.

Now with these regulations in full force, those in the marine industry have a new, very valuable asset to protect, and that asset is DEF. DEF has storage requirements that need to be adhered to in order to ensure its longevity and efficiency.

DEF is used in SCR systems in order to greatly reduce the level of toxins in the emissions of diesel engines. However, like many chemical liquids, DEF needs to be kept within ideal temperature ranges when in storage and transportation, or else its chemical qualities could be compromised. And it probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that the ideal temperature for DEF is well above freezing. However, the problem becomes how to keep large amounts of DEF protected from freezing during the cold months.


DEF Heating Solutions

Heating solutions for DEF have been around for a long time, but finding the proper and most convenient heating solution for this liquid can be tricky. Some tote, barrel, or drum heaters will heat to a high enough temperature, but will do so unevenly, causing cold and hot spots that could ruin your DEF storage.  This is why the proper heating solution for DEF protection needs to be able to deliver consistent, even, and regulated heat distribution. Such a capability will ensure that your DEF isn’t overheated in spots and under heated in others. Since DEF should never be heated to more than 86° F, careful temperature regulation becomes extremely important.

Along with meeting temperature regulation requirements, you’ll also want a solution that can fit the common DEF storage unit (with customizable options for the less common storage unit) both insulating and heating at the same time.  What’s more, when it comes to protecting large quantities of DEF in multiple storage units, you’re going to want a product that you can set and forget. In other words, thermostatic controllers will allow you to set the proper temperature and worry about it no more.



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