Page 51

COVER STORY: THE CHANGING FACE OF UPS

The relentless pursuit of greater productivity and lower cost continues to be the driving force behind making uninterruptible power in data centres ever more sophisticated. Sara Verbruggen reports.

Efficiency defines next generation of UPS systems It’s an old gag but still partly true. Why will the data centres of the future only need two operators — a man and a dog? The man’s job? It’s to feed the dog. And the dog? To make sure the man doesn’t touch the computers. From the beginning UPS systems have all been based on the principle that once the computers are running fine, the systems must be protected from all forms of intervention. Power loss, of course, being the most devastating of all. The result has been that with the need for greater data to be protected, the corollary has been that the demands on UPS have steadily risen. Over the last decade — although VRLA batteries have been used for a generation in a few data centres — the biggest shift in the UPS business has been the increased trend from flooded to VRLA batteries. Nowadays there are few flooded cell UPS installations in the sub-100kW range. Although the quip ‘VRLA batteries don’t die, they’re murdered’ holds true, VRLA batteries generally have a

www.batteriesinternational.com

shorter operational lifetime than their flooded counterparts. Wet cells have a design life of around 20 years with an expected lifetime of around 15 years. VRLA batteries — again typically — have a design life of between seven and 10 years but an expected lifetime of around five years. That said they can be cheaper overall in terms of their maintenance requirements and space. Flooded cell battery systems require long range up-front planning including specialized physical space, ventilation, safety planning, and engineering. Moreover, the costs associated with a bit-by-bit approach to expanding flooded cell systems are so large that it is normally less expensive to simply build out the entire system up-front. Choosing the right backup power application for a data centre is based on calculations on its requirements — load, performance, power, space and maintenance as well as cost. Familiar parameters perhaps but still, in the case of lead acid battery requirements, the need for a safe and stable storage environment.

Batteries International • Fall 2014 • 49

Batteries International — issue 93  

UPS embracing the latest technology — The global implications for energy storage of the latest UK TSO report — The changing rules on transpo...

Batteries International — issue 93  

UPS embracing the latest technology — The global implications for energy storage of the latest UK TSO report — The changing rules on transpo...