A truck like the one in the picture, an IVECO Stralis XP, comes fitted with various systems to reduce as far as possible the poison coming out of the exhaust pipes. For truckers, that comes at a cost in terms of urea or AdBlue. We are not talking about a few litres every few thousand kilometres, but every few hundred. A lorry can smoke two litres of urea every 100 km, and at the current price, that's 6 euros every day.
For these savings there are those who gamble with devices that cancel the selective catalytic reduction.
It is easy to find devices that connect to the diagnostic port (OBD) and make the control unit believe that the system is working, even if it is disabled. Pollution from nitrogen oxides - or NOx - goes through the roof, all for a measly financial saving in relation to the running costs of a truck. Whoever is caught will be prosecuted for unauthorised modifications, since there is obviously no way of approving these devices, and for environmental crime.
They make a minimum of sense - legally speaking - if the lorry driver has to pass through a country where the standards do not require this system to be active. It would be legal, it would be economical, and it would be just as morally despicable. It is as execrable an act as, on the part of the manufacturers, not selling current anti-pollution systems in countries where they are not compulsory. China, that growing Asian dragon, has recently adopted Euro 4, as Europe did 12 years ago.
If the United Nations were not a house of *****, where members with the right to veto can put all the sticks in the wheel they want, there would be a global harmonization on this issue. Pollution knows no borders, there are few things more international than that. In the end, in the long run, everything arrives. Polluting voluntarily is an act of pure and simple psychopathy, it is not thinking of others. Being an exhaust system, it does not influence at all on consumption, power or performance, only varies what is polluted.
Cheaters have a lot of information and resources. In the HGV world it may be worth taking a gamble in an economic sense, but in passenger cars, it would be showing very little intelligence. A passenger car can carry a quantity on board of about 20 litres, which can last up to 20,000 kilometres, i.e. 0.1 l/100 km. This amount varies depending on how you drive, the more NOx, the more urea you need to neutralize them. The savings are obviously not worth it in a passenger car.
The diesel/AdBlue ratio is about 1/25.
An AdBlue neutralizer is "amortized" by using it for three days. It is difficult to eradicate this perverse modification, the agents must catch the lorry driver in the act, it is very difficult to detect the deception in progress. What happens if the lorry driver has run out of AdBlue by carelessness? The truck would have reminded him already, it wouldn't have started without the additive, and the meter warns him in time.
In passenger cars the additive is supposed to last until the service, but if it doesn't, you can buy it at almost any petrol station, you have to handle it with care because it is a corrosive liquid. Goggles and gloves are necessary, and be careful not to pour the liquid out of your mouth, it attacks the paint. What is not so elementary is to reset the electronic level so that it knows that there is already additive. In a garage, topping up the tank costs 30-40 euros.
As long as taking a gamble can be profitable, these tricks will continue. If only ethics were enough. According to the additive manufacturer Finish Metal, 10% of trucks could be using SCR overriders. That would be a lot...