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Ethanol free gasoline

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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ethanol free gasoline
    Posted: 31 Dec 2022 at 10:37am
Originally posted by lostagain

Why haven't they eliminated the lead in aviation gasoline?  I sure wouldn't want to live in the glide path of an airport that services planes that use leaded gasoline, especially if I had young children (which thankfully I don't).  We learned about the effects of lead in exhaust fumes on children many years ago via schools by busy roads.  I suspect if the gasoline producers were faced with a deadline of 4 or 5 years to get the lead out of the fuel or shut down, they'd find a way to make unleaded aviation gasoline.

I certainly understand the sentiment. However, there is a small airport in the south bay (Reid Hillview) that has been in operation for decades as things built up around it. The homes and businesses that came in after the airport was operating have been trying to shut down that airport for many, many years.

Their latest gambit was to measure the levels of lead in the soil around the airport, and they discovered that the lead levels are actually lower in that area than they are around freeways and expressways. Speculation is that despite the lead in aviation fuel, the volume (amount of traffic) may be key contributor. That said, they have phased out 100 low lead at that airport. It will probably happen to most places around the country as time evolves. The issue after that is modifying aircraft engines so they can tolerate fuel without lead.
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lostagain View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 2022 at 11:56am
That's good to know about the lower levels of lead in the air around Reid Hillview and probably other general aviation airports.  I guess the lead gets disbursed by the wind aloft.  I imagine that it is partly a function of how windy it is around the facility.  Just the same, it wold still be best if an unleaded fuel could be developed and the engines modified.  Seems aviation engine technology is far behind the technology of automotive engines and has been that way for some time.  I recall being surprised when I was involved in the defense of some aviation cases in the 1990's how many aircraft engines were still stuck in the technology of the 1930's and 40's.
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David and Danette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David and Danette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 2022 at 5:20pm
We are camping for six weeks in Florida with no electrical hook up and the sites we have do not have full sun for our 140 watt solar panel. So we need to use our generator to provide electricity to keep the battery charged. We ended up buying a Westinghouse 2500 inverter generator to replace our Champion 3100 inverter generator which is twice the weight and uses twice as much gasoline. A lot of campers have been using solar panels but still need to use their generators at times.
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lostagain View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jan 2023 at 10:22am
We've had a Champion 3400 watt dual fuel generator for several years.  It's never been operated on gasoline; only propane.  Though it's been used very little, it runs great and with the propane hookup it's easy to connect and there is no messy gasoline to deal with.  The output drops about 200 watts with propane, but it's still plenty to start and run the AC with the soft start.  The biggest issue with it is that it's heavy and the bed of our truck is high, but even in my dotage, I've been able to lift it into onto the tailgate without help.  If we were to buy another generator, I'd look into getting two smaller dual fuel units to hook in a series, but I doubt it will wear out by the time we hang up our trailer hitch.
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Pod People View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pod People Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jan 2023 at 6:43pm
We use a Honda eu2200 that I converted to propane.We love it!
I CAN carry/lift it, but most of the time I get help from Laura.  We found that a simple 3/4"dowel about 2' long inserted through the handle makes it easy for 2 people to carry it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jan 2023 at 6:58am
There is an FAA approved unleaded fuel substitute for 100LL avgas. It is UL94 and is it now available at Reid Hillsville and a few other airports that have banned 100LL (I think, but I've never been to an airport that has it). 

The problem with adopting UL94 is the octane rating. Lead is in 100LL as an octane booster to prevent knock. Airplane engines run at essentially full power all the time, so it's a much more demanding use case than auto engines. Knock will destroy an aircraft engine in very short order.

 So higher compression engines can't run the lower octane  rated UL94. Because the volume of gasoline used in aviation is so low (unlike Jet A for turbine aircraft) it is unrealistic to expect both fuels to be produced, delivered and stored at these small GA airports. So if you own a certified airplane that isn't approved to operate on UL94 and you can't get 100LL at your airport you're pretty much screwed. 

And while there those higher performance airplanes are less common than your run of the mill Cessna 172s etc, they temd to be used more frequently and are thirstier so use relatively more fuel. They are also owned by corporations or wealthy individuals who have more political clout in how their local airports are managed. 

Then on top of that there is the aversion to change in the aviation community. Change brings risk and risk is bad. If you get bad fuel in your car you wind up on the side of the road calling AAA. If you get bad fuel in your airplane you can wind up a lawn dart in a cornfield. 

In my case I own an experimental aircraft so I can do what I want, and it's engine is one that Lycoming, the manufacturer, has approved for UL94. So I could run the stuff and would, if it was available at my airport. In the meantime I could also use premium ethanol free gasoline, which is readily available locally and what I run in my remaining small engine at home 

But I won't, even though it's much cheaper than 100LL. For 3 reasons:

It's a PITA. Airplanes use a LOTof fuel.  I'd be hauling 6 or 7 five gallon cans back and forth to the airport all the time.

It's dangerous. The fuel supply and storage infrastructure for avgas is much more carefully controlled than for auto gas. Who knows what junk might be in the tank down at your local gas station. There is my risk aversion kicking in.

I'm not worried about the lead exposure either to me or to the general public. The volume of fuel burned and the amount of lead in it is really tiny. There are a lot more concerning environmental issues to worry about than the lead in 100LL. 

So I'll keep using the 100LL 
 till it's not available, then I'll switch over to whatever becomes available, unless the price of  100LL gets beyond my cost vs pain/risk  tolerance, which its close to doing. It's around $6.50 a gallon at my airport now, that that's cheap compared to a lot of places. 



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