Painting a greener plant

Ford has decided to purchase a DFC300MA fuel cell from FuelCell Energy for its Oakville, Ontario, plant to reduce paint solvents produced from automotive painting operations.



The Direct FuelCell unit is capable of turning the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that emanate from enamel-based paints and clear coat finishes used in manufacturing into 300kW of green electricity.



The Oakville painting process produces 90kg/hour of VOCs, which is enough to fully power the DFC300MA unit. The system will be designed to switch over to another fuel source automatically and continue generating clean electricity even if the level of VOCs is insufficient.



Industry Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade will fund the DFC power plant, while Arencibia Associates, Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, will manage installation and integration of the power plant with Ford’s manufacturing factory.



‘By using the end-products of enamel and clear coat operations, we are eliminating the exhaust of thousands of tonnes of nitrous and sulphur oxides as well as CO2,’ said Andrew Skok, executive director of Strategic Marketing for FuelCell Energy.



The DFC unit is expected to enter operations in early 2008, and there could be plans to roll out the technology to Ford’s other plants in the future.