All rechargeable batteries degrade in performance over time, even the NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) hybrid battery pack in the Toyota Camry Hybrid
Still, that doesn’t mean they’re destined for the landfill. While the NiMH hybrid battery pack may not be up to the task of powering a hybrid electric vehicle, such as the Toyota Camry Hybrid, they can still hold enough power to be used for other energy storage applications. In fact, hybrid and electric vehicle battery recycling and repurposing is one of the major sticking points when it comes to discussing exactly how green electrified vehicles are.
Considering the growing importance of decentralized power grids and intermittent renewable energy storage, repurposing hybrid battery packs gives them a second life. This fall, a new energy storage system will be installed at the United States’ oldest national park, Yellowstone, specifically at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus. A stack of 208 used Toyota Camry hybrid battery packs, with 85 kWh total capacity, hold enough power to keep the lights on for a year. They’ll be recharged using solar power and a small hydroelectric turbine.
Considering that hybrid battery packs indeed have a limited service life, at least in a hybrid vehicle, finding new uses for them goes a long way to ensuring hard-to-recycle rechargeable battery components don’t cause future problems in the waste-stream. The hybrid battery packs going to Yellowstone National Park, along with $50,000 and a Toyota RAV4 EV, won’t be going to a landfill, but will serve for a few years advancing research in the national park.
Image © Toyota