My simplistic title likely doesn’t do nearly enough justice to the ideas contained in this post from Green Car Congress:
Ford has been engaged in an ambitious multi-year project to reshape the financial and environmental costs associated with vehicle painting through a new painting process that provides a 15–75 percentage point reduction in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and a 20%–25% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to other current processes (as well as reducing the cost per vehicle).
As another tool to achieve the goal, and complementary to the new painting process, Ford has developed and is deploying a fumes-to-fuel system that captures and condenses the VOCs emissions from painting and then uses them as fuel to produce electricity to help power the paint shop.
Mike’s post is incredibly informative and detailed, even giving a brief history of car painting. From my more limited perspective, I’m happy to see Ford continuing to engage in green experiments, and find the application of an industrial ecology model in the fumes-to-fuel concept particularly encouraging.