Myth busting DEF
Two years into life with diesel exhaust fluid, Old World Industries proves all the fears were without merit

By Jami Jones, managing editor

After a tumultuous lead-up to the introduction of diesel exhaust fluid into the heavy-duty truck market, chatter about the fuel additive has all but died, and there’s a reason for that.

The fluid has proved to be easy to use and safe. Fears of handling the fluid are all but nonexistent as diesel exhaust fluid – dubbed DEF – is classified as a non-hazardous, non-toxic chemical and is not flammable.

The second hurdle that many predicted would be the downfall of mandated use of the product was a universal lack of a distribution network.

Old World Industries based out of Chicago, IL, tackled that problem. Now truckers and motor carriers alike can find DEF around the country with relative ease.

Branded under the Peak Blue DEF label, Old World Industries leveraged an expansive manufacturing, mixing and distribution network used by its antifreeze and windshield washer fluid products.

Best known by its proprietary product lines under the Peak label, Old World Industries also produces more than 100 private label products in the antifreeze and washer fluid markets. So, whether you’re grabbing a gallon of antifreeze or washer fluid off the shelf in an auto parts store, big box store or truck stop, Old World Industries could very well be producing that privately labeled jug you’re holding.

DEF was introduced into the emissions regulations mix when most truck makers opted for selective catalytic reduction engine technology to meet the 2010 emission standards. The fluid is needed in an after-treatment capacity to reduce the final emissions output.

Old World leveraged its expansive network to meet the inevitable growing demand for the fluid. And they weren’t the only supplier to jump into the DEF market.

Frank Cook with Old World Industries half-jokingly called the early days of the fluid’s production “The Great Diesel Exhaust Fluid Rush.” He said many manufacturers of urea entered the market.

However, over time and with the lack of established distribution networks, many have left the business or partnered at various levels with Old World and Peak Blue DEF, further expanding the company’s distribution capabilities.

But, no matter how big the distribution network is, people won’t buy the product if it’s not any good.

Old World took great strides to produce a pure product. Cook explained that the logistics in producing DEF are extensive, because contamination is one of the top concerns with DEF.

“One teaspoon of salt would contaminate an entire tanker full of DEF,” Cook said.

While the company meets a variety of purity and composition standards to ensure a quality product, Cook stressed the need for the truckers and motor carriers to take the same care of not contaminating their tanks.

“You don’t want to grab the same funnel you use to put oil into your truck to fill your DEF tanks,” Cook said. “You definitely need to dedicate equipment for filling your tanks.”

To help in that vein, Peak Blue DEF is offered in a variety of bulk containers. While a gallon of DEF will get you about 300 miles on down the road, it’s not the most convenient to keep a big truck stocked with several gallon jugs.

The bulk containers even come in small enough amounts that owner-operators can buy a bulk container with a sealed delivery system – similar to a tap on a beer keg – and store it in the garage at home.

Storage of DEF in a garage, for example, is not a concern, even in the winter. Peak Blue DEF is blended to a 32.5 percent urea concentration. What that means is even when it freezes, the urea and water will thaw at the same rate. Once it returns to liquid form, you can use it, even if a block of it is still frozen.

The sizes and shapes of the bulk containers vary, filling the needs for stationary fleet fueling locations to drums suitable for one to five truck operations. Find out more by visiting LL