Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: active

Title: Emissions of potent greenhouse gases from appliance and building waste in landfills

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Yesiller, Nazli

Contractor: California State Polytechnic University

Contract Number: 11-308

Research Program Area: Climate Change

Topic Areas: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Stationary Sources

Research Summary:

High-global warming potential (high-GWP) greenhouse gases (GHG) contained in waste insulating foam may potentially be a significant source of GHG emissions, estimated to be upwards of 2.7 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (MMTCO2E) in California in 2010, and expected to increase to 8.2 MMTCO2E annually by 2020. However, these estimates are uncertain, as no waste foam GHG emissions have been measured from California landfills, and research is necessary to confirm the extent to which waste foam in landfills is biologically attenuated or captured and reduced by landfill gas collection and combustion systems. The objective of this research is to determine the high-GWP GHG emissions from waste insulating foam in landfills. The high-GWP GHGs used as foam expansion agents in insulating foam include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have high-GWPs ranging from 700 to 4750. Findings from this study will help determine if the business-as-usual process of disposing appliance and building waste foam into California landfills is a significant source of high-GWP GHG emissions and whether there is a need for any action to reduce these emissions to help meet GHG reduction goals of Assembly Bill 32. This project will also provide sufficient information to verify or assist in revising the foam destruction offset assumptions used in the protocols for ozone-depleting substance destruction programs.


For questions regarding research reports, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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