Concern grows over AdBlue-related ‘malfunctions’

ESTA is urging members to send in information about problems with the use of AdBlue in mobile cranes and SPMTs.

AdBlue is a mixture of water and urea used in diesel engines to minimise the production of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. It reacts with NOx in the catalytic converter, breaking it down into nitrogen and water vapour in a process known as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).

The concerns were raised at the last meeting of the EU Regulations Workgroup whose attendees include ESTA members and representatives of the crane manufacturers through FEM, the European Materials Handling Federation.

Crane rental companies are reporting growing issues with the use of AdBlue with some saying almost one third of all on-road breakdowns seem to be AdBlue related.

A key concern is that if the AdBlue system malfunctions – perhaps because the engine is too cold – then the crane’s engine can lose power or even shut down, with potentially dangerous consequences.

Reports suggest that similar problems can face SPMT operators, a particular concern during load outs.

One solution might be for the engine manufacturers to develop some sort of “override” that would allow the engine to keep operating for a limited period despite the AdBlue system malfunction.

But engine manufacturers are reportedly reluctant to invest in diesel engine redesign at a time when their commercial emphasis is on developing electric powertrains.

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “As a first step, we are gathering information and we will then consult with the members of the European Regulations Workgroup and decide on the next steps.”