Welcome to the FUEL Project

Welcome to the website dedicated to Furthering Understanding of Emissions from Landfilled Waste Containing Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid (PFOS)  – the FUEL project.

Landfilling constitutes one of the major methods of disposing of waste goods which cannot be recycled through any suitable processes or are ill-suited for incineration due to the possible production of dioxins, furans and other hazardous chemicals. Although over 400 landfills exist in Ireland, since the beginning of landfill-regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the mid-1990s, the vast majority of these sites have ceased operations leaving less than 10 landfills still in operation (as of 2014), a number which is reducing further every year due to compliance with newer and more stringent EU legislation. However, these landfills would have historically accepted large quantities of municipal solid waste and household/office wastes, some of which is known to have been treated with flame retardant and consumer chemicals such as PFOS. Through processes such as leaching and volatilisation, these chemicals – now known to be environmentally hazardous – can potentially contaminate the environment surrounding landfills.

In a previous project (WAFER; http://www.wafer-research.com/) an investigation into the distribution of BFRs in household, electronics, vehicular, and C&D (construction and demolition) wastes in Ireland was carried out. Extending this research, the FUEL project aims to quantify the degree of contamination by these chemicals from landfills in Ireland through three pathways: leaching into soil and groundwater; run-off into water basins; and volatilisation into the air. These processes include direct sampling and analysis from open and closed landfills in addition to lab-based simulations to determine the factors which influence the leaching of these chemicals from source items under landfill conditions.

This material is based upon research supported by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency under Grant Award No. 2016-HW-MS-8

Project Partners

FUEL Project Partners The National University of Ireland Galway is ranked in the top 2% of universities globally in the Times Higher Education rankings and is the most successful university for the commercialisation of its research in Ireland. The research-led institute has a growing international profile in the fields of Biomedical, Computational, and Environmental sciences, having partnered with over 2700 research institutes in over 100 countries worldwide. It houses both the Ryan Institute on energy, environment and marine studies and the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, both of which have gained widespread international recognition within their respective fields of research.
FUEL Project Partners The University of Birmingham is a leading research-led UK university. It ranked 15th out of 154 institutions UK institutions in the 2014 Research Fortnight University Power Ranking, with 81% of its research outputs ranked as either world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Having furthermore been ranked at 130 in the Times Higher Education rankings, it is in the top 1% of universities worldwide boasting many ground-breaking inventions and discoveries as well as several Nobel Prize recipients.