PHOTO CAPTION: Repurposed and refurbished Camry Hybrid battery packs can store 85kWh of electric power at Lamar Buffalo Ranch.

Toyota Hybrid Batteries Power Yellowstone Facility

208 hybrid battery packs reclaimed from Toyota Camry's are now online, providing backup solar power to Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Buffalo Ranch research station.

Published: 13-May-2015

Today in Yellowstone National Park, the National Park Service officially threw the switch on the Lamar Buffalo Ranch Renewable Energy System. Any excess energy generated by 40kW of Sharp solar photovoltaic panels (see panoramic photo below) will now be stored in a bank of 208 reclaimed and refurbished NiMH battery packs from Toyota Camry Hybrids. According to Toyota, this is the first of its kind installation to use the batteries out of hybrid-electric cars. General Motors and ABB developed a similar energy storage bank using reclaimed Chevrolet Volt lithium-ion cells. Toyota estimates such systems can double the useful life of each battery pack; and there are some 7 million on them in Toyota hybrids worldwide, representing a sizable resource for similar applications.

The Camry Hybrid cells were collected from Toyota dealers around the country and repurposed by Indianapolis-based Indy Power Systems, who disassembled all the modules to check the individual cells, and designed the energy management system that balances energy flow between the PV array and a 40kW backup propane-fueled emergency power generator. By itself, the PV system is estimated to produce nearly 68,000,kWh of energy annually. Additionally, a microturbine hydroelectric generator utilizing water from a stream adjacent to the Lamar facility will be added to the generation mix in 2016.

The project is a partnership of Toyota, Indy Power Systems, Sharp USA SolarWorld, Patriot Solar, National Park Service and Yellowstone Park Foundation.

Lamar Buffalo Ranch solar array

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