Project at a Glance

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: Area Sources, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Stationary Sources


Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are high-global warming potential (high-GWP) greenhouse gases (GHG) contained in waste insulating foam, a potentially significant source of GHG emissions. Previous research estimated that up to half of the annual foam GHG emissions (5 - 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents [MMTCO2e]) in California occurred after the insulating foam was landfilled (half of foam GHGs are emitted from off-gassing and shredding losses prior to landfilling). The objective of the research was to measure GHG emissions from waste insulating foam in a representative California landfill, which had not been conducted prior to this research project. The Potrero Hills Landfill in Suisun City was selected as a representative California landfill. Gas samples were collected from various sites of the landfill surface that represented different cover types and ages of waste. Samples were also collected from the landfill gas extraction system before and after flare combustion. F-gas concentrations from the landfill surface varied significantly, depending upon the cover type and conditions. The F-gas emissions form the Potrero Hills Landfill were estimated to be a maximum of 2,600 metric tons of CO2 equivalents (MTCO2e)/day during the wet season, decreasing to 4 MTCO2e/day during the dry season. F-gas emissions represented 3.4 to 4.1 percent of all GHG emissions from the landfill, with methane and carbon dioxide contributing the remainder. Research findings indicate that F-gas emissions from landfills are significantly lower than previously estimated. The most significant research finding was that the landfill gas flare destruction efficiency was greater than 99.5 percent for all measured F-gases.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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