The electronic component crisis and its impact on research

As the price of natural gas and electricity is currently high, leading European manufacturers, such as the Slovakian Duslo, the Italian Yara and the Spanish Fertiberia, have postponed the production of Adblue, as it is hardly profitable for them to manufacture it. All this could lead to a shortage crisis for all vehicles that need this component to function properly.

What is AdBlue?

AdBlue is an additive which has been used in diesel vehicles since 2014. It does not pollute, as it is composed of deionized water and 32.5% urea. It is therefore neither flammable nor toxic and protects the environment. However, currently the production of AdBlue has been postponed, causing its price to rise exaggeratedly.

This situation could paralyze European road transport, as the most affected ones are supply trucks and buses, which need AdBlue for their operation. In view of this problem, vehicles with low AdBlue levels are advised to refuel their tank as soon as possible before the price of AdBlue continues to rise uncontrollably.

How will this crisis impact research? 

You may be wondering how AdBlue is related to research. Although we do not work directly with this additive, its shortage will generate problems in supply chains and, therefore, in the logistics of companies. This affects the development of our research projects which rely on electronic components such as chips, boards or graphics cards. All this coupled with the shortage of components that we have been enduring for months and the rising costs of semiconductor wafers, especially at the beginning of 2021.

We are currently developing different devices such as the Datalog_all-one, which allows us to boost energy efficiency. Another example is the WiForAgri project, whose basis is a low-power and low-cost IoT module to be used in smart agriculture scenarios. These are just some of the examples of the hundreds of projects that could potentially be affected if this crisis persists.

Juan Manuel Corchado

Full Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Department of Computer Science and Automation, University of Salamanca, Spain.


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