A set of hybrid car batteries will help power the Lamar Buffalo Ranch this fall in Yellowstone National Park.
Toyota donated 208 batteries—used nickel-metal hydride packs that previously powered Camry Hybrids—with the intent of powering the Buffalo Ranch’s five buildings.
The donation follows an initiative from the National Park Service to update the energy infrastructure at Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
According to a press release from Toyota/3BL Media:
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.
Besides the batteries, Toyota also donated a RAV4—one of Toyota’s SUV models—and $50,000 dollars to the Yellowstone Park Foundation. The donation will go toward further sustainability developments at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
The Lamar Buffalo Ranch has important antecedents within Yellowstone National Park. It was established in 1907 to combat the possibility of bison extinction. It was extensively ranched; remains of irrigation systems and fencing persist to this day. The campus was upgraded in 1993 with the installation of new heated/insulated cabins.
Besides its historic value, the Lamar Buffalo Ranch also avows an educational purpose. It is the headquarters of Expedition: Yellowstone!, an elementary/middle school program that runs in the spring and fall. The program immerses students in Yellowstone’s natural and cultural history over a four to five day period.