Toyota Combines Solar Power, Camry Hybrid Batteries to Power Yellowstone National Park

Toyota‘s given them a home where the buffalo roam. Instead of just tossing used Camry battery packs into landfills across the United States, Toyota is reusing them, combining them with solar power generation to create a reliable, sustainable, zero emission powered ranger station and education center.

The initiative, which is a result of the partnership between Toyota, Indy Power Systems, Sharp USA, SolarWorld, Patriot Solar, National Park Service and Yellowstone Park Foundation, is located at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park.

The system works by through a process in which solar panels generate the renewable electricity stored within the 208 used Camry Hybrid nickel-metal hydride battery packs, recovered from Toyota dealers across the United States. The Yellowstone system is the first of its kind to use recovered hybrid vehicle batteries for commercial energy storage. Each battery pack has been disassembled and tested, and every piece that could be was repurposed. New components were also designed and built by Indy Power Systems specifically for this application, including an onboard battery management system for each battery pack.

“Toyota’s innovative response to solve a difficult problem has helped Yellowstone move closer to its goal of becoming the greenest park in the world,” said Steve Iobst, acting superintendent of Yellowstone.

On an annual basis, the solar system will generate enough electricity to power six average U.S. households for a year- plenty of power for the five buildings on the Ranch campus.

Engineers expect this type of use to double the overall lifespan of the hybrid batteries.
images courtesy of Toyota
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