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Lithium-ion batteries suit large scale UPS systems

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A switch to lithium-ion batteries can reduce replacement frequency, footprint and total cost of ownership of large scale UPS systems, according to Southampton based energy storage specialist Vertiv. Formerly known as Emerson Network Power, the company has launched an energy storage solution for several of its Liebert uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. 

These lithium-ion batteries are designed specifically for UPS applications and are smaller, lighter and longer lasting than traditional valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries. The new products are available now across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and are fully tested and compatible with Liebert EXL S1 and Liebert Trinergy Cube. Vertiv engineers are currently working to extend these to the entire three-phase UPS portfolio.
“Lithium-ion batteries may seem a new concept within the data centre space, but at Vertiv we have quite a history of offering UPS solutions with lithium-ion battery backup worldwide.” said Giovanni Zanei, AC power product marketing director for Vertiv in EMEA. “Our customers are increasingly appreciating the benefits of lithium-ion battery technologies and our experience in this field means that we can deliver a broad range of options that have been tested within different operating environments and applications, and that meet the highest quality standards.”
This type of battery has been common in consumer electronics for decades, providing compact, lightweight, long-lasting energy storage for cell phones, laptops and tablets. More recently, those same characteristics have driven expanded applications of the technology in cars, airplanes and, increasingly, data centres. Among the latest projects in EMEA, Vertiv has configured two 800 kVA Liebert Trinergy Cube UPS with eight strings of lithium-ion batteries. The system, designed for one of the world’s leading fashion companies based in Europe, can be easily scaled to 2.4 MW to keep up with growing data centre capacities.
The batteries are available for new build, retrofit or modular constructions and the benefits are substantial. Lithium-ion batteries are 70% smaller and considerably lighter than VRLA counterparts, significantly reducing the footprint of the battery cabinets and in some cases enabling in-row battery storage. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries support higher operating temperatures better than VRLA, which can also help cut battery cooling costs.
Perhaps most importantly, depending on chemistry and utilisation, lithium-ion batteries can last up to three times as long as VRLA. In most cases, VRLA batteries would need to be replaced multiple times before the first replacement of a lithium-ion battery. That’s significant when you consider the greatest cost and nuisance factor associated with UPS batteries is replacement. Over a ten year life span, lithium-ion batteries allow up to 40 percent savings in CAPEX compared to VRLA ones.
“By delivering UPS systems with extensively tested lithium-ion batteries from partners, Vertiv expands an already broad portfolio of data centre power solutions,” said Rhonda Ascierto, research director for the Datacenter Technologies and Eco-Efficient IT Channel at 451 Research. “The combination makes it possible for firms to implement this increasingly cost-efficient technology in UPS installations, providing them with reliable performance and protection over a far longer time period than traditional lead-acid batteries, and helping to protect critical data centre operations.”
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