Graduation Date

Summer 2023

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Energy, Technology, and Policy

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Sintana Vergara

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Chris Harmon

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Kevin Fingerman

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Dr. Arne Jacobson


FTIR, Infrared spectroscopy, Food waste, Greenhouse gas, Ethyl acetate, Nitrous oxide, Carbon dioxide, Dynamic flux chamber, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Organic waste, Compost, Food waste storage, Organic decomposition, Climate, Waste management

Subject Categories

Environmental Systems


A growing interest in sustainable waste management and the implementation of new policies have prompted a shift towards alternative resource recovery methods for organic waste, including food waste. To effectively assess alternative food waste treatment scenarios, it is important to evaluate the life cycle impacts associated with each scenario. The storage phase of food waste, encompassing its accumulation in kitchens, and storage in bins for collection and transportation, has been overlooked as a source of greenhouse gases in previous studies. This investigation aimed to identify the greenhouse gases emitted during the initial five-day period of low-oxygen storage. An open dynamic chamber coupled with continuous gas analysis using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) was employed to detect and quantify the flux of gas species from food waste. The analysis successfully identified and quantified carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ethyl acetate emissions. The CO2 and N2O emissions were relatively low compared to those observed in other early organic waste decomposition studies. The N2O and ethyl acetate emissions exhibited significant variability across different food waste samples, despite maintaining a consistent ratio of food types in the waste samples. The observed variability was attributed to physiochemical differences between food waste components. Key findings from this study include (1) the proposed method was effective at quantifying CO2 and N2O emissions in a gas mixture resulting from food waste decomposition, even in the presence of unknown gas species, and (2) the emissions exhibit significant variation based on the food waste composition, highlighting the necessity of a substantial sample size to accurately estimate greenhouse gas emissions for food waste as a broad category.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location


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