We're not speaking about fuelling your car with a new fuel but using the fumes generated by painting a car to produce fuel. The system, which is installed in Ford's Oakville plant and is currently on its third generation, converts emissions from the plant's paint shop into electricity to help power the plant.

The system is made from a stationary combustion engine and, after another year of testing, Ford plans to change it into a large fuel cell. Ford claims this will enhances the system's effectiveness.

A great part of the composition of car paints are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which are the reason paint smells. This fumes are quite toxic usually but they're carbon components, so they can be used as fuel. The molecules are captured by carbon beads and are processed for use in the fuel cell which produces electricity.

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 second-generation technology at Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Mich., using a 50 kilowatt Stirling engine to generate electricity. The MTP system continues to operate. By comparison, the Oakville system will launch with a 120 kilowatt internal combustion engine and will migrate to a 300 kilowatt fuel cell.

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[Source: Ford]

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