With 15 months of experience since the EPA 2010 emission standard took effect, diesel exhaust fluid supplier Air1 sees the market for its product developing as expected.

In the first year after the standard, the North American market for DEF was about 14 million gallons - most of it distributed in small containers sold off the shelf, said Chad Dombroski, director of Air1, which supplies DEF produced by Yara North America.
Yara North America is owned by Oslo-based Yara International, the global fertilizer company that has been supplying DEF to the European market for five years.

This year the market will increase more than fourfold, to about 64 million gallons, and next year it will double to about 130 million, Dombroski said. By 2015 it will reach 350 million gallons, and by 2020 it will be 1.2 billion gallons, he said, citing data gathered by Integer Research.

"This growth rate is within expectations, based on truck turnover and fleet adoption," Dombroski said.

While the bulk of DEF distribution still is off the shelf, many truckstops are finding that their bulk distribution via 1,000- to 2,000-gallon tanks at fuel islands is starting to fall behind demand, Dombroski said.

"They're running through it so quickly that they need more capacity," he said. So many truc stops are either installing, or planning to install, large underground tanks of 10,000 gallons or more at their high-volume facilities.

This volume ramp-up, and the market's distribution characteristics, are similar to what Air1 has experienced in Europe, Dombroski said.

Europe adopted the selective catalytic reduction technology that uses DEF for emissions reduction before North America did, and Air1 has been in that market from the start, he said.

"In Europe, the conversion to SCR is proven," he said. "We're using our expertise over here to build the same kind of supply chain."

Dombroski also referenced Air1's experience in Europe to answer a question about DEF dosing rates. Four years of DEF use in Europe indicates an average dosing rate of 2 to 2.5 percent, he said. "Some vehicles will run higher due to their operating environment, but in general the average holds," he said.