Beginning this fall, used hybrid batteries that would otherwise be recycled will get a second life in Yellowstone National Park. 208 nickel-metal hydride batteries are being retired from the Toyota Camry Hybrids they once helped power and will become part of an off-the-grid energy system at Yellowstone's remote Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus. The Lamar campus provides field seminars and other education and research in the northeastern corner of the park.

The energy stored in the battery packs will come from solar panels and micro-hydro turbines. The total storage capacity of the batteries is 85 kWh, which is sufficient to provide plenty of emissions-free power to the five buildings at the field campus. Toyota says this program essentially doubles the life of the batteries that are no longer suitable for driving. It's great to see the batteries get another life cycle before recycling, especially in a place where wild animals easily outnumbers the cars.

The battery project is part of a larger partnership between Toyota and Yellowstone. Toyota has previously donated a RAV4 and $50,000 to support sustainability projects at the park.

In addition to the energy system being implemented at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, Toyota has taken part in similar energy projects. Beginning last year, Toyota dealers in Japan have been using hybrid batteries for power storage. Also, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama is testing a system to use hybrid batteries to power operations and for emergency backup power. Learn more in the press release from Toyota below.
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Buffalo and Bears and Batteries – Oh My!
Toyota Brings Power to Yellowstone National Park

June 04, 2014

Yellowstone...Where the Deer and the Antelope and the Prius Play

Torrance, Calif. (June 4, 2014) – The nation's oldest National Park is ready for some new power. Toyota Camry hybrid batteries will soon power the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park. It's a new lease on life for the batteries and new, zero emission, energy option for the Park. Now that's a "bear-able" solution!

The stationary distributed energy system will feature 208 used Camry Hybrid nickel-metal hydride battery packs and a total storage capacity of 85 kWh, more than enough pluck to power the five buildings on the Ranch field campus.

Solar panels and onsite micro-hydro turbine systems will generate the renewable electricity stored within the battery packs, creating a sustainable, off-the-grid power source for one of the most remote and pristine places in the U.S. Scheduled for installation this fall, the state-of-the-art system will create no emissions in generation, storage or distribution of power for the campus.

While the used hybrid battery packs featured in the system aren't up for daily drives, they're not ready to be put out to pasture either. This type of reuse is expected to double the overall life span of the hybrid batteries. It's important to note that if a used hybrid battery pack is not suitable for reuse, Toyota's established hybrid battery recycling program takes the reins.

The Lamar Buffalo Ranch project is just the latest example of Toyota hybrid batteries making an encore. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama is testing a similar project to help power their operations and provide back-up power during emergencies. Toyota dealers in Japan have been tapping into used hybrid battery packs for stationary power storage since 2013.

In addition to the batteries and engineering know-how, Toyota recently donated a RAV4 and $50,000 to the Yellowstone Park Foundation (www.ypf.org), the fundraising arm of Yellowstone National Park, to support Lamar Buffalo Ranch sustainability projects. While not the most famous part of the park, the Lamar Buffalo Ranch is one of the oldest and most historic areas in Yellowstone. The Ranch houses facilities for education and research.

More details on the system will be revealed when Toyota flips the switch this fall. In the meantime, to learn more about Yellowstone National Park sustainability initiatives please visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/sustainability-contents.htm.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 2 Comments
      Davey Hiltz
      • 2 Days Ago
      That's neat of them to have that kind of system at Yellowstone. I've always wondered what happens to those batteries, now I guess I know. I was also wondering, how would I get batteries for solar panels? I assume they cost a good deal, but they just might be worth it. http://www.unitedbattery.net/batteries/
      • 2 Days Ago
      Hey there, just wanted to ask if a vrla battery would be good for my ride? I own a Toyota corolla 2014. Found some batteries here http://www.mcabatteries.com/VRLA_Battery_563199. If anyone can help that would be much appreciated