Advantages and Disadvantages of Lithium-Ion Battery for UPS Systems

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Although power outages are inevitable, they can be disastrous if you are in charge of a same network or data centre. Data centres can continue to function even in the event of a major loss or a tripped breaker thanks to uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

In order to supply power in the event of an outage, UPS systems are normally constructed with lead-acid batteries; nevertheless, these solutions have not changed significantly in recent years. In an effort to cut expenses, data centres are looking for ways to shorten the UPS system’s lifespan, lower its weight and size, and require less cooling.

Li-ion batteries have the potential to meet all of these requirements. Li-ion batteries are actually already part of APC by Schneider Electric’s Back-UPS system lineup.

The combination of chemicals applied in the electrolyte and electrodes of a lithium-ion battery is what distinguishes it from a lead-acid battery. Metal oxide is used as the cathode in LiFePo4 batteries, while carbon is used as the anode material. An organic solvent dissolves a lithium salt, which serves as the electrolyte.

Though they are relatively new in the UPS system market

Though they are relatively new in the UPS system market, Li-ion systems have several significant benefits for data centre applications. These batteries can typically complete more charge/discharge cycles than lead-acid batteries—up to two or three times as many, depending on the battery’s chemical makeup—and have a higher specific energy/energy density, longer lifespan, and faster recharge time.

Lithium-ion batteries are well-known for powering computers and smartphones, but they are also improving Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems.

The shortcomings of the conventional Valve-Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries that are frequently used for UPS systems are addressed by this rechargeable battery.  Despite being less costly, VRLAs require more frequent replacements, more extensive cooling, and more real space than lighter batteries.

An examination of the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing lithium-ion batteries in UPS systems is given below.

Cost of Ownership Overall

Lead-acid batteries are becoming less expensive, but lithium-ion batteries are still more expensive for UPS systems. The longevity of lithium-ion systems is their true benefit. Lead-acid systems might require two or three replacements during a fifteen-year period, whereas lithium-ion systems might not require any replacements at all.

This lowers maintenance expenses and the total cost of ownership (TCO). A Schneider Electric investigation indicates that over a ten-year period, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of li-ion-based UPS systems can be 10–40% lower than that of a lead-acid system (as of 2016).

Security

Before, lead-acid batteries were thought to be more flammable and prone to starting fires than Li-ion batteries, but improvements in cell chemistry and packing have made Li-ion batteries far safer. Li-ion batteries have a longer lifespan in data centres because they can withstand higher temperatures. Li-ion batteries are harder to recycle than lead acid batteries, but they also contain less potentially harmful materials.

Recharge Ratio

A lead-acid or li-ion battery needs almost the same amount of time to charge to 80%. However, the advantage of li-ion systems goes beyond their charge capacity. Lead acid batteries may require over five to ten hours to reach a 100% level of charge, but li-ion batteries can do so in as little as thirty to sixty minutes.

Li-ion systems, however, are more susceptible to different charging and discharging techniques. A battery management system (BMS) is typically present in these batteries to guard against overcharging and short circuits.

Space A data centre can benefit greatly from new battery technology in this area. Systems using Li-ion batteries in place of equivalent lead-acid systems can save weight and floor area by up to 80% and 50%, respectively, for a UPS. The move to Li-ion UPS systems may help data centres that are quickly filling up their floor and rack spaces by eliminating clutter, creating more room, and simplifying equipment reconfiguration.

Lithium-ion battery UPS systems, as opposed to lead-acid ones, which be able to save data centres money, space, and improve overall performance. Li-ion batteries come in a variety of chemistries, and the battery’s chemical composition can have an impact on its overall performance. Before making a purchase, carefully consider the battery technology your UPS systems use.

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