Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Running On Fumes

Ford is planning to expand its groundbreaking fumes-to-fuel system:

Ford is turning paint fumes--the scourge of any auto manufacturing plant--into clean electricity. Its patented fumes-to-fuel technology, co-developed with the Detroit Edison unit of DTE Energy, could be worth millions in energy savings and licensing fees, Ford says.

"It's almost too good to be true," said Jay Richardson, redevelopment manager of Ford's historic Rouge Center in Dearborn, Mich., where the technology was first tested in 2003. Encouraged by the results, Ford is now putting larger-scale versions of the system into two other factories.
Actually, it is too good to be true, when you consider Ford's miserable track record on fuel efficiency; their cars continue to be the least fuel-efficient in the country.

It's great to reduce factory emissions, and better still to hire William McDonough to redesign your plant...but it doesn't make up for selling millions of cars with poor fuel efficiency and high emissions. Some of today's Fords get fewer miles per gallon than the Model T did in the early 1920s, and they've lobbied Congress to block an increase in CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards.

Until Ford starts making real progress on efficiency, their other innovations amount to little more than greenwashing.

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