Ford Motor Co. will install its patented Fumes-to-Fuel system at its Oakville, Ontario, Assembly Plant, which will convert emissions from its paint shop into electricity. The system will launch with an internal combustion engine before shifting to a stationary large-scale fuel cell to boost effectiveness. The company will buy the DFC300MA fuel cell from manufacturer FuelCell Energy Inc. to transform fumes from the paint solvent into 300 kW of green energy.

"The Oakville installation is the first of its kind in the world to harvest emissions from an automotive facility for use in fuel cell," said Kit Edgeworth, Ford's abatement equipment technical specialist for Manufacturing. "It is the greenest technology and offers the perfect solution to the industry's biggest environmental challenge traditionally."

The technology was developed as a responsible way to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the painting operations' exhaust air. Carbon beads capture the VOCs for use in the fuel cell, which converts it to electricity. The system was launched as a pilot installation at the Dearborn Truck Plant using a 5 kW fuel cell. A year later, Ford installed installed technology at its Michigan Truck Plant using a 50 kW Stirling engine to generate electricity.

The Oakville system will launch with a 120 kW internal combustion engine before shifting to the 300 kW fuel cell, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 88% and eliminate nitrogen oxide emissions completely.

"By using the end-products of enamel and clear coat operations, we are eliminating the exhaust of thousands of tons of nitrous and sulfur oxides as well as CO2 - a major greenhouse gas," said Andrew Skok, executive director of FuelCell Energy's strategic marketing. "As this application shows, the fuel flexibility of our DFC300MA opens up an entirely new, very large market for us."

The fuel cell unit is slated to begin use in early 2008, and could eventually spread in use at Ford's other plants.

Ford is also developing a new environmentally friendly anti-corrosion technology that reduces water use in automotive paint shops by nearly half, and lowers sludge production by 90%. It is currently being field-tested on a small fleet of Lincoln Town Cars. It uses a zirconium oxide vehicle bath instead of the traditional zinc phosphate bath, which contains heavy metals such as zinc, nickel and manganese.

Ford Motor Co.’s website is FuelCell Energy’s website is