For all the critics out there that say that hybrid vehicles are a waste of resources, particularly because the batteries go bad after a time, it’s important to realize that many hybrid batteries live another life after they aren’t suitable for use in vehicles any longer. A cluster of buildings in Yellowstone National Park powered solely by car battery packs are an excellent reminder that hybrid batteries don’t have to be tossed out when they aren’t usable in vehicles any longer.

yellowstone solar array

Harnessing Solar Power Effectively

Most of the time when solar energy is harnessed the excess power that’s produced is simply sent off to the rest of the power grid for someone else to use. This works well for those who are tied to an existing power line, but isn’t a viable option for more remote buildings without remote access. For situations such as those battery storage is the best solution and that’s exactly what’s used at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch buildings. There are five in all and they make use of a collection of vehicle batteries to store energy collected from solar, and soon hydro energy sources.

Inspecting the Packs

Each of the excess battery packs is disassembled and tested to make sure they can be used for energy storage. After the batteries are approved they are given a new battery management systems and arranged into 52 pack arrays for a high storage capacity. The five buildings make use of an array of 208 batteries that hold a total of 85 KWH of energy in all. The storage solution offers plenty of power for the buildings to use when the sun isn’t out, and helps keep any excess energy that the building doesn’t make use of during the day too.

Toyota has a recycling program for its battery packs, but it’s even more beneficial to reuse the packs for another purpose before they are recycled. The packs offer a lot of great storage capacity and could be used in a range of possible projects, especially with so many homes turning to alternative energy sources like solar panels to provide needed power.

That’s why hybrid vehicles may not be the responsible vehicles that some people are making them out to be. Whether the batteries they use are recycled or put to another use, they aren’t going to the landfill anytime soon and that’s a good thing. The packs offer a lot of precious metals that most people aren’t going to want to simply let go to waste.