Lead Fuel Additive Producer Ensures Continued Supply
July 15, 2010 — As the aviation industry transitions to an unleaded fuel, the manufacturer of a key fuel additive is ensuring that there won’t be any gaps between 100LL and its replacement or replacements. Innospec, the makers of tetra ethyl lead (TEL) in 100LL AvGas, says it will continue to produce the crucial additive as the aviation piston world attempts to find an unleaded alternative fuel. The announcement earlier this week is welcome news as the transition to a new, replacement fuel is ongoing.
TEL improves engine performance, prevents knocking, and lubricates engine parts. The higher octane level in current AvGas provides additional power in high-performance engines. One of the key stakeholders in the AvGas debate is higher powered piston engines, including warbirds. While most factory and homebuilt piston singles are certified to operate on lower octane ratings, higher performance singles and twins would have to reduce their performance envelopes if Innospec stopped making the additive.
Innospec, based in the United Kingdom, says it supports the global phase-out of leaded fuel but would continue to make TEL available until the transition to unleaded AvGas is complete. Innospec also says that other countries around the world are still transitioning their auto fleets to unleaded gasoline, so there is still strong demand for the product outside aviation.