Yesterday's hybrid car is tomorrow's Energizer battery


Nickel-metal-hydride hybrid battery pack in trunk of 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Nickel-metal-hydride hybrid battery pack in trunk of 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid

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That battery-powered alarm clock or flashlight in your house could very well contain a piece of an old hybrid car.

Energizer now makes rechargeable AA and AAA batteries with four-percent recycled content, by weight.

This new Recharge line includes some material from retired hybrid-car battery packs.

DON'T MISS: Nickel-Metal-Hydride Batteries For Electric Cars? Energy Density Can Rise 10-Fold: Researchers (Mar 2015)

The company claims using vehicle batteries as raw materials is a world first, but won't say exactly where those old batteries come from.

Recycled material "can come from multiple makers of hybrid-electric vehicle batteries," Energizer senior marketing director Nadia Kowalczyk told AutoblogGreen.

Relying on multiple manufacturers ensures a steady stream of recyclable materials, she noted.

2007 Toyota Prius

2007 Toyota Prius

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The Energizer Recharge AA and AAA batteries use nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) chemistry, just like many hybrid cars.

Energizer says it refines material from hybrid-car batteries through a "proprietary process" that produces a "refined, high-performance active ingredient" used in the household batteries, but wouldn't offer an real details.

The company says it is moving toward a future where all of its batteries contain at least some recycled material.

ALSO SEE: Used Toyota Hybrid Batteries Repurposed At Yellowstone National Park (May 2015)

And Energizer isn't the only entity thinking of new uses for old hybrid-car battery packs.

Last year, 208 Toyota Camry Hybrid battery packs were installed in arrays to help power a cluster of buildings in a remote part of Yellowstone National Park.

The packs are now used to store energy generated from solar panels at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus within the park.

2011 Ford Escape Hybrid

2011 Ford Escape Hybrid

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Battery capacity degrades over time to the point where packs are no longer usable in cars, but even at that point there is still adequate capacity for use in energy storage.

Like the Energizer rechargeable batteries, the Camry Hybrid packs use NiMH chemistry.

MORE: Chevy, Nissan Reveal Second-Life Uses For Electric-Car Batteries (Jun 2015)

Because they contain precious metals, recycling will always be a popular option for these packs.

But the lithium-ion cells used in plug-in hybrids and electric cars are made from cheaper stuff.

That means reuse in energy storage should be an even more attractive option when those packs are retired from automotive service.

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