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Ford Moving to the 3rd Generation of Fumes-to-Fuel with Fuel Cell Installation

Ford is installing the third generation of its patented Fumes-to-Fuel system (earlier post) at Oakville Assembly Plant in Canada.

The pollution-control system converts emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the plant’s paint shop into electricity to help power the plant. The Oakville system will launch with an internal combustion engine and after a year of testing and further development will migrate to a stationary large-scale fuel cell to enhance the system’s effectiveness.

The fuel cell-powered system is expected to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 88% and eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

The Oakville installation is the first of its kind in the world to harvest emissions from an automotive facility for use in fuel cell.

—Kit Edgeworth, abatement equipment technical specialist

Carbon beads capture the VOCs, resulting in clean exhaust air. The VOCs are then released from the carbon beads and processed for use in the fuel cell.

In 2004, Ford launched its Fumes-to-Fuel technology with a pilot installation at the Dearborn Truck Plant. That project used a 5 kW fuel cell and served as a temporary test site for Ford engineers. The following year, Ford installed a new generation of technology at Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Mich., using a 50 kW Stirling engine to generate electricity. The MTP system continues to operate.

By comparison, the Oakville system will launch with a 120 kW internal combustion engine and will migrate to a 300 kW fuel cell.


John Schreiber

Waste to energy and a cleaner environment, very cool.


This is great. They do not have to do this and some would say that this is just a publicity stunt, but it is a show of clean technologies that can be applied elsewhere. If they could use SOFCs and cogenerate with a gas turbine and steam turbine on a large scale, that would take us farther.

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