Decommissioned Hybrid Batteries To Power Yellowstone Ranch

The United States’ oldest National Park will be receiving more battery power.

Toyota Camry hybrid batteries will soon be used to power the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park. Toyota said it’s a new lease on life for the batteries and new, zero emission, energy option for the Park.

The company said the stationary distributed energy system will feature 208 used Camry hybrid nickel-metal hydride battery packs and a total storage capacity of 85 kilowatt-hours, which Toyota says is “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, continued Toyota. Scheduled for installation this fall, the 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. Toyota believes 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, added the manufacturer.  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, the fundraising arm of Yellowstone National Park, to support Lamar Buffalo Ranch sustainability projects.

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.

The Toyota brand is not new to the park. The Prius started being seen through Yellowstone in 2004 when four were donated  to support visitor services, help raise environmental awareness and reduce the park’s environmental. Toyota stated the vehicles also helped in bear jams, allowing rangers to idle and deal with guests without generating emissions.

More hybrids migrated in with the 2007 donation of a Camry Hybrid (one of the first assembled in the U.S.) and a Highlander Hybrid.  The Toyota USA Foundation’s Leadership in Environmental Awareness for the Future (LEAF) grant program added, in 2008, another Highlander Hybrid, two Prius and two Tundra, along with more than $800,000 to help develop environmental programs for children.