Ford Plant 'Running On Fumes'

Automaker's Ontario plant will use fuel cell technology to turn fumes from painting operations into 300 kilowatts of green electricity.

DANBURY, Conn. — FuelCell Energy, Inc., a manufacturer of ultra-clean power plants using a variety of fuels, announced Thursday Ford Motor Co. will use fuel cell technology at its Oakville, Ontario, facility to reduce paint solvent emissions for painting operations.
The automaker will turn the fumes from those compounds into 300 kilowatts (kW) of green electricity.
The Direct FuelCell unit that Ford will use can transform Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that emanate from enamel-based paints and clear coat finishes used in manufacturing into fuel. Ford’s Oakville painting process produces approximately 200 lbs/hour of VOCs.
The power plant is funded by Industry Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
“By using the end-products of enamel and clear coat operations, we are eliminating the exhaust of thousands of tons of nitrous sulfur oxides as wall as CO2 — a major greenhouse gas,” said Andrew Skok, Executive Director, Strategic Marketing for FuelCell Energy.
The fuel cell unit is expected to start up in early 2008. In the future, Ford could roll the system out to other plants.