rwessel
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:20 am

New regulations announced yesterday by the U.S. EPA reduces the acceptable level of lead in air from 1.5ug/m**3 (micrograms / cubic meter) to .15ug/m**3. A ten-fold reduction.

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress...6f882852574e40051e01d!OpenDocument

The standards will begin to take effect in 2011, and states with areas in violation will have five years from that point to implement plans to meet the standards.

Given that Avgas now contributes approximately 29% of the total atmospheric lead emissions in the U.S., it seems likely that there will be an impact on Avgas production and availability.

It seems likely that areas with large GA communities will have difficulties meeting the new standards, especially near larger GA airports.

The GA community in the U.S. (and it's mostly in the U.S., since, with the exception of a couple of countries, there's very little leaded Avgas used in the rest of the world) continues to shoot itself in the foot on this issue by mostly pretending the issue doesn't exist (the odd whine and position paper excepted).

100LL is going the way of the dinosaur people, and we've known that for thirty years now, and yet have made essentially no meaningful effort to develop alternatives. Yes, there are a few research programs with modest funding, and a few engine manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to (slowly) develop diesels, despite a near complete lack of commitment from aircraft manufacturers and owners (and thus basically no economic demand).

Three decades of inaction have likely used up any moral capital we have on the subject. It was reasonable in 1978 to say, we don’t have an alternative, we need time to come up with one. But that was *30* years ago. The general public thinks poorly enough of us already. What happens when someone does a vocal job pointing out that a third of the lead their kids are breathing is from GA? You think there’s going to be much sympathy for the jerks poisoning the kids who *knew* this was an issue for thirty years, and have basically ignored it?

Just wait until some locality with a big GA airport and an atmospheric lead violation happens. The screams to shut it down will be heard over the oceans…
 
Cubsrule
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RE: EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:11 am



Quoting Rwessel (Thread starter):
Just wait until some locality with a big GA airport and an atmospheric lead violation happens. The screams to shut it down will be heard over the oceans…

It's important to realize that it's going to be quite a while until an airport causes an area to not be in attainment of the standard (and I'm not convinced that an airport alone will emit enough lead for nonattainment, even under the new, stricter standard). The monitoring network (as it exists now) does not focus on airports because under the old standard, airports-- even those airports which dispensed a lot of 100LL-- could not cause a violation by themselves.

A good example of this is in St. Louis, home of a primary lead smelter (in Herculaneum, Missouri) that is the primary source of airborne lead in the region and (accordingly), the primary reason that Jefferson County is nonattainment under the old standard (and a contributor to the fact that St. Clair County Illinois is not compliant with the new standard). Even though SUS sells enough leaded AvGas that airport management here is concerned, there is no monitoring anywhere near SUS, and without industrial sources of lead, SUS itself likely would not 'emit' enough lead to be a problem.

The EPA tends to move colossally slowly, and I suspect it'll be after 2011 before there's any meaningful airborne lead monitoring around airports, meaning that even if an airport dispenses enough 100LL to cause nonattainment, we're looking at probably close to 10 years before there's actually a need to eliminate it.
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rwessel
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RE: EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:47 am



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 1):
The EPA tends to move colossally slowly, and I suspect it'll be after 2011 before there's any meaningful airborne lead monitoring around airports, meaning that even if an airport dispenses enough 100LL to cause nonattainment, we're looking at probably close to 10 years before there's actually a need to eliminate it.

That's probably true, but the 2011 date is when EPA is supposed to have the monitoring program in place. Of course, I'm not going to bet money on them actually getting done by then...

Still, 100LL is headed for extinction*, and this tightening of standards will accelerate that. I think it’s fairly likely that we’ll start seeing restrictions in the next decade, and I have trouble seeing how there won’t be significant ones in the next three.

*With some very limited exceptions for flying historic aircraft.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:09 pm



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 2):
Still, 100LL is headed for extinction*, and this tightening of standards will accelerate that. I think it’s fairly likely that we’ll start seeing restrictions in the next decade, and I have trouble seeing how there won’t be significant ones in the next three.

 checkmark I think that's right. I was at a public hearing on this standard where Richard Hrabko (director of STL and SUS) testified, and he said that the amount of 100LL that SUS has sold has declined significantly in the past 5 years. I don't know exactly what's contributing to that, but I think that some (at least) ARE moving away from it.
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Illini_152
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RE: EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:26 pm



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 3):

checkmark I think that's right. I was at a public hearing on this standard where Richard Hrabko (director of STL and SUS) testified, and he said that the amount of 100LL that SUS has sold has declined significantly in the past 5 years. I don't know exactly what's contributing to that, but I think that some (at least) ARE moving away from it.

More like the hours flown by piston aircraft is down significantly over that timeframe than anything else. Its NOT good news.
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Mir
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RE: EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:50 pm

Wasn't there an unleaded avgas that was being researched pretty intensely (as in "close to marketable") over the past few years?

-Mir
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pilotpip
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RE: EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:15 am



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 3):
he said that the amount of 100LL that SUS has sold has declined significantly in the past 5 years. I don't know exactly what's contributing to

When I started working at an FBO at STL in 2002, 100LL was about $2.00 a gallon. The now-defunct FBO at SUS that I worked for was getting about $1.80 in 2001. It's now about $5.50 on the cheap side at SUS and $6.00 at STL if you go the the lower cost FBOs.

Not taking the astronomical rise in mx and insurance to the mix, you're looking at a $40 an hour increase just to fly a 172. That probably has a lot to do with it.
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Northwest727
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RE: EPA Lowers Air Lead Limits - Possible Avgas Impact

Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:18 pm



Quoting Mir (Reply 5):

As far as I am aware, there are 4x avgas replacements.

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