Ethanol Study Group Formed

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A new group's study gives a whole new meaning to the term getting tanked. A task group of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Aviation Gasoline Subcommittee will investigate whether ethanol alcohol-based fuels can be a viable alternative to 100LL. It's widely believed that 100LL will eventually disappear as more countries ban tetraethyl lead in automotive gasoline for environmental reasons. It's predicted that the relatively small market for leaded aviation fuel won't economically justify the continued production of the octane-boosting anti-knock compound. Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline but it can cause other problems. The task group, headed by Fred Cornforth, of Conoco-Phillips, will look at the pitfalls and opportunities presented by ethanol blends and possibly come up with specifications for a new aviation fuel. The committee might start with the fuel experts at Cessna. The company earlier this year warned Cessna owners not to use E-85 aviation fuel containing ethanol because it might cause problems with their planes.