How DEF and Renewable Diesel Are Changing the Game

Published On: February 23, 2024Categories: Blog

As we wrap up the first quarter of the 21st century, more and more attention is being paid to emissions. That has motivated industry and business to work together and find a balance that allows American businesses to keep thriving economically while maintaining environmental sustainability. DEF and renewable diesel are important parts of this equation and as a major renewable fuel supplier, we’re proud to play a role. 

Supplying DEF and Renewable Diesel to Fuel America’s Future

Diesel is truly the lifeblood of the American economy. Most goods don’t reach their destination without it. When you supply diesel fuel to a good portion of America’s businesses as we do, you get a good sense of just how much our prosperity depends on this vital fuel. 

With tighter emissions targets in place — Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and renewable diesel are two of the keys to keeping America’s diesel-powered fleets moving. Mansfield Service Partners is proud to be part of the solution to the challenges at hand. 

What is DEF? What Does it Mean for the Future of Diesel Power?

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) was invented as a response to stringent environmental regulations aimed at reducing the levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel engines. NOx is a factor in air pollution, leading to smog and acid rain.

The density of European cities combined with the popularity of diesel cars and trucks there led the EU to require DEF beginning in 2005. The U.S. followed later, in 2010, to reduce the amount of NOx emitted by diesel vehicles. The bottom line is DEF makes diesel power more sustainable for the future. 

Some facts about Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF):

  • DEF was developed to reduce NOx emissions in European cities first.
  • The U.S. adopted DEF requirements in 2010 following urging from CARB. 
  • DEF can reduce NOx emissions from diesel engines by as much as 90%. 
  • DEF does NOT hurt your fuel economy, some trucks with it get even better MPGs. 

How DEF Works

DEF is a non-hazardous solution consisting of 67.5% deionized water and 32.5% high-purity urea. It’s used in Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems fitted in most modern diesel-powered vehicles, including trucks, buses, and tractors.

When injected into the exhaust stream, DEF triggers a chemical reaction in the SCR system that converts NOx emissions into harmless nitrogen and water vapor. This process significantly reduces the NOx output of diesel engines. 

Mansfield Service Partners (MSP) offers top-quality DEF for all of our clients. Naturally, DEF can be delivered along with your diesel fuel supply. From DEF and fuel delivery to the extensive support services we offer from tank installation and maintenance to our SMARTank fuel management, MSP has you covered. 

Renewable Diesel and How It’s Made

Renewable diesel is a type of biofuel that is derived from biomass like plant and animal materials, including fats, oils, and greases. It is similar to biodiesel, but the two are not identical.

The primary difference is in the production process. Renewable diesel is produced through a process called hydrotreating, as opposed to the transesterification processing used to make biodiesel. Hydrotreating involves refining and treating the biomass with hydrogen under high heat and pressure. This process removes oxygen and other impurities, resulting in a product that is chemically almost identical to petroleum diesel.

That is the part that makes renewable diesel a game changer. Unlike 100% biodiesel (B100),  renewable diesel can be used directly in any diesel engine without modifications, and it can be transported and stored using existing infrastructure. No special accommodations need to be made. MSP is proud to be a renewable diesel supplier throughout the Midwest and western U.S. 

Renewable Diesel Has a Bright Future

Renewable diesel has several key advantages over petroleum-based diesel and biodiesel. It burns cleaner with fewer particulates, which your DPFs will appreciate. It has a higher cetane number, which improves cold starts and engine performance — that can lead to better fuel economy.

However, the production of renewable diesel is currently more expensive than that of conventional diesel, and the availability of suitable feedstocks can be a limiting factor. Despite these challenges, the use of renewable diesel is growing as a way to reduce the environmental impact of transportation.

What you should know about renewable diesel fuel:

  • Any diesel vehicle can use renewable diesel with no modifications at all.
  • Renewable diesel has much higher cetane than regular diesel for better performance.
  • Renewable diesel has much higher lubricity than regular diesel, reducing engine wear. 
  • Renewable diesel is made by a different process than biodiesel making it more compatible with all diesel engines. 

America’s Diesel-Powered Businesses in the 21st Century

While systems like DEF and DPF might seem like an unwanted burden and additional expense for industries that depend on diesel power, the reality is that they play to America’s strengths. The U.S. has always been a technological innovator and perhaps there is nowhere that’s more true than in the petroleum industry. America is diesel-powered and we have been for almost 100 years. 

When America’s first diesel truck, the 1933 Kenworth Cummins Diesel, rolled off the assembly line, it marked the beginning of a new era. Between diesel-electric locomotives and the growth of the diesel tractor-trailer industry and marine diesel power — there was hardly a piece of cargo or freight in America that didn’t get to where it is without diesel fuel. That remains true today. 

The United States is a land of ingenuity. Great minds, willing hearts, and strong backs made this country what it is today. We have yet to encounter a challenge we couldn’t invent our way through or master with hard work. The future of diesel fuel supply, DEF supply, and diesel engine innovation is no different. The EPA’s Clean Diesel initiative is one example of government and industry working together to keep America moving forward on this front.

Proud to Support America’s Diesel-Powered Businesses 

At Mansfield Service Partners, we have built our reputation by delivering superior diesel fuel, lubricants, and expert services to customers at competitive prices. Our business is built on keeping your business powered and in motion. 

We’re optimistic about the future of biofuels, especially renewable diesel. We’re betting on American know-how and ingenuity to maintain our leadership position in fuel supply and production technology.

If you or your organization are looking for a diesel fuel distribution partner with a rock-solid reputation and a wealth of experience – Mansfield Service Partners is only a phone call away at (800) 683-1331 or you are welcome to email any inquiries to