Fuel cell to run on paint fumes

30 August 2007 — FuelCell Energy, Inc. said that Ford Motor Co. will buy a fuel cell for its Oakville, Ontario, facility to reduce paint solvent coming from automotive painting operations by turning fumes from those compounds into 300 kW of electricity.

The fuel cell unit can transform into fuel the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that emanate from enamel base paints and clear coat finishes used in manufacturing.

Ford’s Oakville painting process produces approximately 200 lbs/hour of VOCs, which is enough to fully power the fuel cell. The system will switch to another fuel source and continue generating electricity if insufficient VOCs are available.

The project is being funded by Industry Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. The fuel cell unit is expected to be started in early 2008. Ford and Detroit Edison, which jointly own the rights to the paint fume clean up and separation technology, could roll the system out to Ford’s other plants, or license it to other manufacturers.

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