Getting the lead out of small airplanes

This article talks about a new diesel engine that can replace avgas powered airplanes. Why doesn’t stuff like this get funding? Lithium batteries, PV panels, and wind mills sucking up all the money.

In fact, without the explicit help of Standard Oil, the Nazi air force would never have gotten off the ground in the first place. The planes that made up the Luftwaffe needed tetraethyl lead gasoline in order to fly. At the time, only Standard Oil, Du Pont, and General Motors had the ability to produce this vital substance. In 1938, Walter C. Teagle, then president of Standard Oil, helped Hermann Schmitz of I.G. Farben to acquire 500 tons of tetraethyl lead from Ethyl, a British Standard subsidiary. A year later, Schmitz returned to London and obtained an additional 15 million dollars worth of tetraethyl lead which was to be turned into aviation gasoline back in Germany.

Henry Ford, Charles Kettering and the Fuel of the Future

Although T.A. Boyd and Thomas Midgley of Ethyl found ethyl alcohol to be a good anti-knock additive in 1922, it was not until 1933 that studies at Iowa State University publicly quantified the quality and economic comparisons between ethyl alcohol and Ethyl lead. Hixon and others concluded that it took 15 percent alcohol to create the octane boost of 3 grams of lead, as seen in the table below. Since Ethyl lead sold at a 3 cent premium over regular gasoline, the question was whether ethyl alcohol blends, with the same anti-knock / octane advantage, should not be sold at the same premium price. Proponents of alcohol blended fuels insisted that this — and not the “extender” use of alcohol — was the proper basis of comparison.

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