Release of Fluorocarbons from Insulation Foam in Home Appliances during Shredding

Institute of Environment and Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.
Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995) (Impact Factor: 1.34). 12/2007; 57(12):1452-60. DOI: 10.3155/1047-3289.57.12.1452
Source: PubMed


It is a current practice that refrigerators and freezers in many countries are shredded after the end of useful lives. The shredder residue is deposited in landfills. During the shredding process a significant fraction of blowing agent (BA) in the insulation foam may be released into the atmosphere. The objective of this study is to determine the fraction of BA released from foam during shredding, by comparing the BA content in insulation foam of refrigerator units before shredding with the BA content of shredded foam. All foam samples analyzed were manufactured with trichlorofluoromethane [CFC-11 (CCl3F)] as BA. The average content of BA in the insulation foam from eight U.S. refrigerator units manufactured before 1993 was found to be 14.9% +/- 3.3% w/w. Several refrigerator units also identified as being manufactured before 1993 were stockpiled and shredded at three shredder facilities, of which one was operated in both wet and dry modes. The selected shredder facilities represent typical American facilities for shredding automobiles, refrigerators, freezers, and other iron containing waste products. Shredded material was collected and separated on location into four particle size categories: more than 32 mm, 16-32 mm, 8-16 mm, and 0-8 mm. Adjusting for sample purity, it was found that the majority (>81%) of the foam mass was shredded into particles larger than 16 mm. The smallest size fraction of foam (0-8 mm) was found to contain significantly less BA than the larger size categories, showing that up to 68% +/- 4% of the BA is released from these fine particles during the shredding process. Because only a minor fraction of the foam is shredded into particles smaller than 8 mm, this has a minor impact on the end result when calculating the total BA release from the shredding process. Comparing BA content in shredded samples from the three shredder facilities with the measured average BA content of the eight refrigerator units, it was found that on average 24.2% +/- 7.5% of the initial BA content is released during the shredding process.

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    • "Blowing agent, which is a gaseous compound, improves the insulating capability of the foam by limiting heat transfer, and, thus, reduces the energy consumption (Yazıcı, 2012). Since the foam is surrounded by the inner and outer walls of refrigerator, air movement through the foam is minimal, and therefore, the loss of blowing agent by diffusion is almost negligible (Scheutz et al., 2007). CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane), which is one of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was first synthesized in 1930s. "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to predict the number of refrigerators containing CFC-11 blown isolation foam and the amount of CFC-11 banked in these refrigerators. By using a Weibull-based survival function, the number of CFC-11 containing and still-functioning refrigerators was estimated to be approximately 1.6 million in 2013 in Turkey. In order to determine the amount of CFC-11 in the isolation foam of these refrigerators, polyurethane (PU) foam samples were taken from a refrigerator manufactured in 1993 and the quantity of CFC-11 was analyzed by a GC-MS. It was determined that 113-195mg CFC-11/g PU remains in the PU foam depending on the location such as door, sides, top and bottom. Knowing that a mid-sized refrigerator contains 4kg PU on average, the total amount of PU foam to be disposed of is 6344tons when the CFC-11 containing refrigerators in Turkey become obsolete in the near future. Furthermore, 717-1237tons of CFC-11 are expected to be banked in the PU foam of these refrigerators which will exert an equivalent amount of ozone depleting potential (ODP). In addition, the global warming potential will vary between 3.4 and 5.9 milliontons of CO2.
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    ABSTRACT: Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been used as blowing agents (BAs) for foam insulation in home appliances and building materials, which after the end of their useful life are disposed of in landfills. The objective of this project was to evaluate the potential for degradation of BAs in landfills, and to develop a landfill model, which could simulate the fate of BAs in landfills. The investigation was performed by use of anaerobic microcosm studies using different types of organic waste and anaerobic digested sludge as inoculum. The BAs studied were CFC-11, CFC-12, HCFC-141b, HFC-134a, and HFC-245fa. Experiments considering the fate of some of the expected degradations products of CFC-11 and CFC-12 were included like HCFC-21, HCFC-22, HCFC-31, HCFC-32, and HFC-41. Degradation of all studied CFCs and HCFCs was observed regardless the type of waste used. In general, the degradation followed first-order kinetics. CFC-11 was rapidly degraded from 590 microg L(-1) to less than 5 microg L(-1) within 15-20 days. The degradation pattern indicated a sequential production of HCFC-21, HCFC-31, and HFC-41. However, the production of degradation products did not correlate with a stoichiometric removal of CFC-11 indicating that other degradation products were produced. HCFC-21 and HCFC-31 were further degraded whereas no further degradation of HFC-41 was observed. The degradation rate coefficient was directly correlated with the number of chlorine atoms attached to the carbon. The highest degradation rate coefficient was obtained for CFC-11, whereas lower rates were seen for HCFC-21 and HCFC-31. Equivalent results were obtained for CFC-12. HCFC-141b was also degraded with rates comparable to HCFC-21 and CFC-12. Anaerobic degradation of the studied HFCs was not observed in any of the experiments within a run time of up to 200 days. The obtained degradation rate coefficients were used as input for an extended version of an existing landfill fate model incorporating a time dependent BA release from co-disposed foam insulation waste. Predictions with the model indicate that the emission of foam released BAs may be strongly attenuated by microbial degradation reactions. Sensitivity analysis suggests that there is a need for determination of degradation rates under more field realistic scenarios.
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