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Nippon Kasei To Boost Output Of Aqueous Urea for Diesel Emissions Control

Nikkei. Nippon Kasei Chemical Co., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., will increase production of high-grade aqueous urea solution used in SCR (selective catalytic reduction) systems to reduce NOx emissions from diesel engines.

Nippon Kasei Chemical plans to raise the annual production of the substance at its plant in Kitakyushu to 10,000kl, five times the current 2,000kl output.

The Kitakyushu plant is currently operating at about 20% capacity. With investments of around ¥100 million (US$845,000), the company will add storage tanks, filling equipment and the like. In 2007, the company plans to operate the plant at just over 50% capacity, reaching full capacity in 2009.

Nippon Kasei has just over a 40% share of the domestic market for the product. The company has been marketing the substance under the AdBlue name since December 2004.

In Europe, 80% of diesel trucks use urea-SCR systems. In Japan, Nissan Diesel Motor Co. installs such systems in its vehicles. Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. plans to begin sales in the spring of 2007 of new vehicles that employ the systems.

Japan’s demand for high-grade aqueous urea solution is currently about 20,000kl a year, but industry sources expect that to rise to 600,000kl in the future.



I wonder how much energy goes in to the manufacture and deployment of this stuff? I certainly think we need to do what we can to clean up emissions, especially diesel, but this also adds to the energy use of a vehicle over time, like the energy it takes to build and recycle a hybrid battery, one more variable to consider when making a decision.

Rafael Seidl

Global synthetic urea production is about 100 million metric tons a year, with about 90% destined for use as fertilizer. The purity required for SCR systems - already in widespread use in caloric power plants - is higher, but the additional energy use that implies is peanuts compared to initial production. In diesel vehicles with SCR systems, the 35% aqueous urea solution is consumed at a rate of roughly 4% of diesel use. In gravimetric terms, you need roughly 10g of urea powder for every kg of diesel.

The energy overheads of battery production and recycling are a separate matter that relates to hybrids. As a rule of thumb, though, fuel accounts 60-80% of the energy use associated with a vehicle during its entire life cycle. Since both diesels and hybrids are a lot more fuel-efficient than gasoline ICE-only concepts, they both massively improve lifetime CO2 emissions.

Robert Schwartz

In a separate press release, Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing announced that they had entered into agreements with beer drinkers across America to increase their output of bio-urea.


There is another process that uses a bit of engine fuel added to the emissions before the emission control devices to help convert the PM, CO, VOC and NOX, to H2O and CO2. It is either Urea, fuel (diesel), some new catalyst, or a H2 supplement for better engine combsution.

D Berry

Okay, fine, the Urea reduces the emission in question. What are the other gasses that result? This is the same kind of problem we have with gasoline emissions. We started putting MTBE in gasoline in the 70's to cut emissions. We weren't told that this additive creates formaldehyde and other complex gases until 1995 (EPA Documentation). According to the documentation the only people who will have repiratory problems are those that pump gas. The amount of MTBE was more than doubled in 2005. Meanwhile the Allergy & Asthma Association has noticed asthma on a increadible rise since the 70's. Could we have the whole story this time?

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