8 March 2022
Moves to ban lead in aviation gasoline (avgas) are not just in the US – Europe is also on the brink of banning Tetraethyllead (TEL), the chemical which adds the lead in 100LL fuel.
Europe Airsports, which represents sports and recreational aviation in Europe, recently warned of the upcoming ban.
It reports that the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) wants to transfer Tetraethyllead (TEL) as a toxic substance to the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) register. ECHA lists TEL on its ‘List of substances of high concern’.
“Apparently, no decisions are officially published yet to place TEL on the REACH register,” said Europe Airsports.
“We know from reliable sources that all Member States voted for this process. It can be expected that the official regulation might be published in March 2022; the consequences have to be assessed and communicated afterwards. Avgas 100 LL itself is not banned.”
TEL is needed in avgas 100LL for two reasons, as Shell Aviation explains:
“Lead compounds from TEL form a protective layer on the valve seat and prevents the soft valve seats from eroding.
“The other more significant problem with unleaded fuels is octane rating. Higher octane fuels mean a higher compression ratio or supercharging ratio can be used, which then leads to a higher engine cycle efficiency.”
Read the full Shell Aviation explanation here.