Local company manufactures diesel exhaust fluid

Brenward Industries founders Ed Foster (left) and Brent Fischer are competing with the big boys in their industry.

Brenward Industries founders Ed Foster (left) and Brent Fischer are competing with the big boys in their industry.

Photo/Sage Leehey

For more information, visit brenward.com.

Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is used to clean the exhaust from diesel engines of all kinds. It helps to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from these vehicles and is currently one of the most efficient ways to meet EPA standards for NOx emissions.

DEF is used in selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, which are separate from engines and fuel tanks of diesel vehicles. Brent Fischer of Brenward Industries explained replenishing DEF as being similar to filling your windshield wiper fluid or oil—it has it’s own reservoir.

“And based on about one to two percent of your diesel fuel consumption, the system will tell it that it needs to regenerate,” Fischer said. “So it’ll spray a gallon of DEF into your exhaust system, cleaning out the carbon dioxide and nitrous dioxide so that you don’t release any of that out into the atmosphere.”

Fischer is one of two owners and founders of Brenward Industries, a local DEF manufacturer based in Sparks. Ed Foster is the second owner and founder. Both are from northern Nevada—Foster from Yerington and Fischer from Reno—and they’re proud of it. Fischer pointed to their label, featuring Lake Tahoe, as evidence to that.

Foster is the scientist half of the duo, and Fischer brings sales and public relations experience to the company. The idea came around about a year ago, and now they’re manufacturing and selling their product to end consumers and larger distributors.

Their manufacturing process uses tap water from the start, deionizing it to remove minerals and heating it, and mixes it with high-purity urea—46 percent nitrogen, in this case—to create their end product DEF.

“We’re able to produce about 3,000 gallons an hour on less than 50 amps of electricity,” Foster said. “As far as green goes, it probably doesn’t get much greener, especially since we’re manufacturing something for cleaning the environment.”

The DEF is also filtered multiple times. Brenward offers DEF in 55-, 275- and 330-gallon containers with pump systems that has similar technology to that in kegs. They also offer 2.5 gallon containers as well.

“People who are going through higher volumes, like these 330-gallon totes, we provide pump systems—closed loop systems—to protect the integrity of the product,” Fischer said. “Nitrogen is a mild oxidant, so it has a tendency to corrode metals and everything. … So the closed loop systems are an example of how you can connect and disconnect and keep the integrity of the product intact all the way to the end consumer.”

The containers and packaging used by Brenward is reused or recyclable. Actually, everything they produce is 90 to 95 percent recyclable, according to Foster.

Brenward’s prices are lower than most in the industry, they say, but they are still competing with much larger companies for their place.

“We’re trying to fight the good fight because some of the bigger oil and fuel companies, they’re packaging together the fact that they have the fuel, oil and parts and stuff,” Fischer said. “So they kind of do DEF on the side and with national accounts and all that stuff, it’s harder for us to get into those without being into fuel and lubricants, too, even though we have a much cheaper price.”