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Lithium-Ion UPS technology – Deliver dependable backup power

September 26, 2023
Read Time 3 mins

Lithium-Ion UPS technology - Deliver consistent and reliable backup power

Lithium-ion batteries are a widely used energy storage solution for countless consumer devices and electric vehicles. Moreover, they have gained traction in Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) applications, safeguarding mission-critical infrastructures within data centres to ensure uninterrupted operations.

For enterprises looking to establish distributed computing and edge networks in remote locations, lithium-ion batteries have emerged as a compelling choice for supporting IT deployments.

Covered in this article

Less maintenance, better density
An indispensable fail-save
The drawbacks of lead acid
Advanced battery design
Vertiv Lithium-Ion UPS

Less maintenance, better density

Compared to their lead-acid counterparts, lithium-ion batteries need less maintenance and boast a superior power density. Their extended lifespan of two to three times that of lead-acid batteries equals fewer battery replacements and a more favourable Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Additionally, lithium-ion batteries come equipped with essential features like a Battery Monitoring System (BMS) to enhance the safety of battery operation.

While the initial upfront cost of lithium-ion batteries remains higher than that of lead-acid batteries, the difference is steadily shrinking, and furthermore, lithium-ion batteries can deliver a lower TCO compared to lead-acid batteries in less than five years. Over the typical lifespan of a UPS, a lithium-ion battery system can yield savings of 40% or even more.

Regardless of which sector a business falls under, many need to establish IT setups in branch offices or remote locations, or even across sprawling campuses, and need to invest in distributed computing or edge networks. Frequently, these compact data centres, server rooms, and network enclosures rely on a single-phase UPS to keep their IT infrastructure up and running, distinguishing them from larger IT installations typically employing three-phase UPS systems.

An indispensable fail-save

In conventional data centres, the battery system stands as an indispensable fail-safe mechanism. During power outages, arrays of batteries supply energy to the UPS for several crucial minutes, allowing the data centre to transition to an alternate power source, such as a secondary utility feed or a generator.

However, in the context of edge data centres or remote IT deployments, the role of batteries is slightly different. Often, batteries serve as the primary backup power source for the facility. They can provide uninterrupted power to the UPS for durations exceeding 30 minutes should a power disruption occur. With no alternative power sources readily available, these remote sites rely entirely on the stored energy within the UPS batteries.

This valuable energy ensures there's ample time for utility power to be restored, for IT administrators to migrate virtual IT environments to stable locations, or for operating systems to execute an automated, controlled shutdown of connected equipment.

In both scenarios, whether in a traditional or remote data centre setting, the fundamental purpose of the battery system remains consistent: to safeguard uptime by sustaining the operational integrity of the IT infrastructure. Regardless of whether it's a conventional facility, a remote installation, or an edge data centre, a dependable battery system is indispensable to ensure uninterrupted operations.

The drawbacks of lead acid

While lead-acid batteries have been the traditional choice for UPS applications, they come with several drawbacks that make them risky and expensive to use in data centres.

One of the main disadvantages of lead-acid batteries is their relatively short lifespan. Lead-acid batteries typically need to be replaced every three to five years, depending on usage and maintenance. This frequent replacement cycle can result in additional costs and disruption to operations. Lead-acid batteries also have a lower energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries. This means that a larger physical footprint is required to store the same amount of energy, which can be a limiting factor in applications where space is at a premium.

Additionally, lead-acid batteries are generally heavier and bulkier, making them more challenging to install and maintain. These batteries also require regular maintenance and failure to properly maintain lead-acid batteries can result in reduced performance, shortened lifespan, and even safety risks.

Advanced battery design

On the other hand, Vertiv offers a range of advanced lithium-ion UPS systems to meet the evolving needs of businesses. The lithium-ion batteries employ advanced battery design, high-quality materials, and superior manufacturing techniques.

With an extended lifespan and reduced maintenance demands, the occurrence of lithium-ion battery failures in mission-critical environments is exceedingly rare. They come equipped with an integrated Battery Management System (BMS) which offers fault monitoring, cell balancing, and power optimisation capabilities for each individual battery, maximising battery life and minimising downtime.

Their lifespan is around eight to 10 years, and they weigh approximately 60% less than lead-acid batteries, simplifying transportation and installation in remote facilities. They are also up to 70% more space-efficient than lead-acid batteries and boast superior energy density and power density compared to their lead-acid counterparts. They are also able to tolerate far more extreme temperatures, making them ideal for remote and edge environments.

Vertiv Lithium-Ion UPS

Vertiv, through Tarsus Distribution, offers a range of UPS with Lithium-Ion batteries that offer power protection to critical equipment in edge, distributed IT applications and data centres.

These solutions offer power protection to critical equipment in edge, distributed IT applications and data centres. They last two to three times longer than those with lead-acid batteries, resulting in fewer battery replacements and reduced labour costs.

With smaller size and lower weight, lithium-ion batteries for UPS systems save space, enhance location flexibility and solve the issue of limited floor weight thresholds.

Contact Tarsus Distribution to explore the range of Vertiv’s advanced lithium-ion UPS systems to meet the evolving needs of your business.

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