Powering-Up near Old Faithful

Millions of people have been a part of this crowd watching Old Faithful erupt. Photo by Ed Austin/Herb Jones

Yellowstone National Park is celebrated for its pristine wilderness and the habitat it provides for countless creatures, from bison and wolves to eagles and hawks.

Yellowstone was established as a protected area for the joy and pleasure of visitors in 1872, almost 40 years before the National Park Service was created in 1916.  Known as being the oldest park in the United States, and possibly in the world, Yellowstone offers many popular visitor favorites such as the Old Faithful Geyser and its many prestigious canyons and rivers.  One feature that is not well-known to the public is their new and powerful renewable energy system.

The new battery power grid at Yellowstone is well engineered and organized to power the remote Lamar Buffalo Ranch Station. Photo courtesy of Toyota & Iecomento

Yellowstone has teamed up with Toyota and the world of engineering systems to electrically power their Lamar Buffalo Ranch Station (visit: https://www.yellowstoneassociation.org/lodging/lamar-buffalo-ranch).  The Camry hybrid battery packs (208 of them) are now providing electric power to the the station, with the battery system storing the energy transferred from nearby solar panels.  Buffalo Lamar Ranch is very secluded, offering only one road to drive there and back during the winter months to tourists and visitors who can stay in rustic cabin accommodations.

All the (used) batteries were dissembled and tested before being re-built to their present capacity to capture the energy from the solar panels.  Collecting power from the sun during daytime, the solar panels generate enough energy to run six American households.  The new battery system at the Station will allow it run completely on sustainable energy for the first time since it was built in 1907.

Toyota already has an extensive recycling program to reuse its hybrid car batteries and Yellowstone is a functional extension of improvements from re-useable science.  But, the Yellowstone program extends past the new battery system with old batteries, as hybrid cars are now also used for operations in the park, along with helping build the “green” building, the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center.

For more information on Yellowstone, follow this link: https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm