If you’ve passed through a roadside truck stop in recent years, you might have noticed signs or containers labeled “DEF.” For those who are unfamiliar with this product, it’s Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Made for diesel engines, DEF is actually relevant to everyone.
In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented new emission standards on heavy-duty trucks. Following this mandate, the U.S. looked to Europe which had implemented similar requirements. One notable solution was a fluid that sprayed as a mist into vehicles’ exhaust. This product, known as DEF in the U.S., satisfied the EPA emission standards while also improving combustion, fuel efficiency and power.
DEF consists of two ingredients, urea and purified water. One of the most common uses of urea is for nourishing crops, a specialty of Koch Fertilizer. The business owns and operates one of the largest fertilizer production facilities in North America.
In late 2014, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at Koch Fertilizer’s site in Enid, Oklahoma, to launch a $1.3 billion expansion, the single largest project investment in Koch Industries’ history. The intention is to increase urea production to help meet the growing demand for food, fiber and fuel throughout the world. This includes high-purity urea for the DEF market.
“The idea that a fertilizer-related product is helping to meet diesel consumers’ demands might sound surprising to those who are not familiar with DEF,” said Dawn Hamilton, Koch Fertilizer’s manager of industrial marketing. “That’s what is great about having a willingness to adapt. There’s often more potential right in front of you. We’re now preparing to increase urea production and apply a portion of it in a way that benefits the world more than ever.”
As part of the expansion, the facility is also reducing waste locally by building a new infrastructure to use the Enid community’s wastewater, conserving millions of gallons of potable water per day.
Farming, mining, marine and other industries or individual consumers that operate diesel engines and generators will all be able to use Diesel Exhaust Fluid containing urea produced in Enid to help enhance efficiency and conserve resources. With so many advantages and potential applications, the full value of DEF travels far beyond the truck stop.