Greensboro, NC . As trucking prepares to meet 2010 diesel emissions regulations, the first retail dispenser for diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) has been shipped by manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root. The industry is moving to complete a national distribution network for DEF since trucks using selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to reach 2010 emissions levels will need to fill up onboard tanks with DEF approximately 20 times a year.

The first Encore S DEF dispenser from Gilbarco is headed for the Knoxville Pilot Travel Center. Four more of the retail dispensers will be shipped to Pilot locations next month, and the company has committed to adding bulk DEF dispensers alongside diesel pumps at 100 of its truckstops by the middle of next year.

Initially, DEF will be most widely available in jugs and bulk drums or “totes” with hand pumps through truck dealerships, truckstops and direct distribution to fleets. But as more SCR-equipped trucks are sold, bulk distribution through automated dispensers is expected to grow rapidly, according to Chad Johnson, Gilbarco’s marketing manager for the Encore dispensers. For retail locations like truckstops, DEF dispensers need to be easily integrated into existing fueling and billing systems, as well as offer high reliability since low initial sales volumes will limit most locations to a single DEF pump serving multiple diesel pumps, Johnson pointed out.

The Encore S will “bolt on” to existing Gilbarco fuel dispensing and control systems, and is designed to look like the widely used standard Encore diesel and gasoline dispensers, according to Johnson. However, since DEF can freeze or crystallize in low temperatures, it contains a thermostatically controlled heated cabinet and covered storage space for the delivery nozzle to keep the DEF flowing in ambient temperatures as low as -30C, he said.

Other features include a mass flow meter to measure DEF delivery accurately in all temperatures and Gilbarco’s standard payment interfaces, including a CRIND card reader, color display, bar code scanner, alphanumeric keypad, contactless card reader and intercom.

The new dispenser can pump up to 20-gal. a minute and should fill the 20-gal. DEF tank on a heavy-duty truck in two to three minutes, Johnson said. Most retail locations will connect the dispenser to a 2,000-gal. self-contained tank mounted on a skid pad, at least initially, with underground storage becoming more common as the market evolves, he said. Automated dispensers for bulk distribution and control at fleet locations will follow the Encore S in the next year, he added.

An over-the-road heavy-duty tractor running 120,000 mi. a year will use approximately 400 gal. of DEF in that period, which translates into 20 fillups for the 20-gal. DEF tank, according to John Lounsbury, director of marketing for Terra Environmental Technologies. Terra is a major manufacturer of urea, the active ingredient in DEF, and it will produce an automotive-grade emissions fluid under the brand name TerrCair. A medium-duty truck will require about 10 DEF fills in a year under normal conditions, he estimated.

At least initially prices for automotive grade DEF will vary slightly by region, , Lounsbury said, with freight costs driving most of the cost differences and with small jugs carrying the highest per-gal. price. However as more SCR-equipped vehicles, which will include all diesel-powered pickup trucks starting in 2010, are sold, volume increases “will drive out the price variations and we should see a single national price,” for DEF, he said.