The European association of abnormal road transport and mobile cranes (ESTA) has requested information from its members using AdBlue in their mobile cranes and self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs).

AdBlue ‘malfunctions’ flagged by ESTA

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The request follows crane rental companies reporting growing issues with AdBlue, a fuel additive composed of a mixture of water and urea. Some have held the mixture partially responsible for nearly one-third of all breakdowns. 

Discussions were held at the most recent EU Regulations Workgroup meeting, with ESTA members and crane manufacturing representatives present. 

AdBlue aims to reduce the production of nitrogen oxide by breaking it down into nitrogen and water vapour after reacting with nitrogen oxide in catalytic converters, via selective catalytic reduction. Companies have cited cranes losing power or shutting down when AdBlue systems malfunction. This can occur when the engine is too cold and SPMTs may face the same issues, a particular worry during load outs. 

ESTA has suggested an “override” that would keep the engine operating for a restricted time despite a malfunction. However, engine manufacturers are reportedly reluctant to invest in diesel engine redesign at a time when their commercial emphasis is on developing electric powertrains, said ESTA.

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.”