Buffalo and Bears and Batteries – Oh My!
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 EV 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.