Yellowstone National Park Ranger Station Goes Green

Yellowstone National Park Ranger Station

Toyota Flips the Switch to Sustainable Power at Yellowstone National Park

Toyota Corporate News, May 12, 2015. Image credit: Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Landscape by J. Schmidt

At the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park, an innovative distributed energy system that combines solar power generation with re-used Camry Hybrid battery packs is now online. The result: reliable, sustainable, zero emission power to the ranger station and education center for the first time since it was founded in 1907.

On an annual basis, the solar system generates enough electricity to power six average U.S. households for a year, or plenty of power for the five buildings on the Ranch campus.  The hybrid batteries provide 85kWh of energy storage to ensure continuous power, as the system charges and discharges.  Onsite micro-hydro turbine systems, capturing energy from a neighboring stream, are scheduled to join the power mix in 2016.

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. The battery management system is designed to maximize battery life and will also provide important insights into real-world performance.  These insights will help Toyota design future battery performance and durability improvements.

To learn more about Yellowstone National Park sustainability initiatives please visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/sustainability-contents.htm.

Details on the Yellowstone National Park Sustainability Project Energy Storage and Management System

  • Power Generation: 40kW solar system producing ~67,900 kwH annually. (40kW propane backup generator onsite for emergency use only)
  • Storage Array: 208 repackaged battery packs, each internally re-wired in parallel and arranged in series in four arrays of 52. Each array provides a nominal 375 volts.  Total storage capacity of 85kwH.
  • Power Management: Indy Power Systems’ Energy Router™ manages and optimizes generation and use of energy between solar energy, battery storage, and/or propane generators (if emergency generator is needed).
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