European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Use of Ethanol Containing Gasoline in Aviation

Project description

Adapting aircraft engines to ethanol fuel

Most piston-engine aircraft run on leaded aviation fuel, or avgas, which makes such aircraft the largest sources of highly toxic lead emissions to the air. The EU-funded UECGA2 project is exploring the possibility of adapting piston engines so that they run on gasoline and bioethanol, a renewable transport fuel that is a safe alternative to lead in avgas and could assist in reducing the overall carbon emissions. Ethanol blended with gasoline could help reduce fuel costs for small aircraft by 30–40 %. Researchers will conduct a feasibility study to ensure that bioethanol use in aviation meets acceptable safety levels and can thus be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration.


Majority of piston engine powered General Aviation aircraft are running on aviation gasoline (Avgas) grades that are more expensive than Ethanol containing gasoline grades used by automobiles. In addition, most of the piston aero engines are still burning lead containing Avgas (100LL). No certified solution is available to allow operation of aircraft engines with Ethanol containing, EN 228 Standard fuel grade.
Consequently, the project aims to result in certified modifications of the common piston aero engines and small aircraft that allow use of Ethanol containing gasoline. It will reduce fuel cost (30-40%) for small aircraft, while it will not require replacement of old engines. Yet, it will involve replacement of some parts and changes to operational procedures leading to an economical solution. The project will also allow eliminating lead containing Avgas and introducing renewable energy using Ethanol. This will reduce greenhouse gas emission, combating climate change and contributing to environmental protection.
Introduction of Ethanol containing gasoline for aviation triggers safety risks that should be mitigated to reach an acceptable level of safety to gain certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the USA. Certification may be achieved if it is demonstrated that the modifications comply with the airworthiness requirements and will not lead to unsafe condition.
Technical feasibility will be verified through the analysis of the safety risks as well as the determination of the applicable airworthiness requirements and means of compliances, by means of the certification programmes accepted by EASA. Commercial feasibility will be shown through market research and analysis.
The feasibility study will pave the way to the modifications and completion of compliance demonstrations as well as certification, to allow safe operation with Ethanol containing gasoline.

Call for proposal


See other projects for this call

Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00

See on map


The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Közép-Magyarország Budapest Budapest
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00