Repurposed Camry Hybrid batteries to power Yellowstone campus
Toyota will soon place 208 repurposed Camry Hybrid batteries into service at Yellowstone Park. The batteries will store clean power generated by solar arrays and a micro-hydro turbine. In total the system of batteries will store a charge of up to 85 kWh, about the same amount of charge a $100,000 Tesla Model S P85 can hold. That amount of power storage helps the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus power 5 buildings using only clean energy.
Hybrid and Electric Batteries Can Power Homes
The batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles will lose some of their effectiveness each year. Although the loss of power is small, and although the cars can use the batteries well past the 150,000 mile mark on the odometer, at some point the car will be returned for recycling with batteries that still function. Rather than recycle the batteries at that point, one possible use for these batteries is the storage of clean energy.
The way it works is simple. Both solar and wind systems generate power only intermittently. However, a building needs some level of power all the time. The repurposed Camry Hybrid batteries are charged up when the clean energy is being produced, say during sunlight hours for a solar array, and then can be used to operate electrical equipment when the solar power is not being produced. Many clean energy systems use new batteries for this purpose now. The alternative is to be connected to the grid and possibly use grid power during off-peak hours. Neither is a better solution, the specific situation defines the best path to success.
Repurposed Camry Hybrid Batteries Save Valuable Resources
By using the Camry Hybrid batteries, recycling is delayed and the batteries can continue to serve customer’s needs saving valuable resources. Re-use and re-purpose are the other ways besides recycling that the environment is helped when equipment no longer meets its minimum performance specifications, but is still operable.
EV Cars Batteries Used In Emergency Power Applications Come With Risk
Many people have proposed that vehicles with electric drive systems might power homes when a storm knocks out power. That can be done, but is depleting your vehicle’s batteries in an emergency a good idea? Also, do you want your second most expensive possession (after the home itself) plugged in when power is coming on and going off intermittently? Nobody does that now with expensive electronic equipment like TV entertainment systems. People leave them off to avoid damage from power surges and fluctuation. It makes more sense to use batteries removed from retired cars. Toyota has been studying emergency power back-up systems using repurposed batteries.
There are many great ways to use the batteries in electric vehicles after their service life is fulfilled. This installation at Yellowstone seems to come with very little risk, and a big up-side.
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Photo shown is for illustration only. Courtesy of Toyota Media.