Lithium-ion batteries reduce total cost of ownership

10th February 2017
Alice Matthews

New energy storage solutions for several of Vertiv's Liebert Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems have been announced which use lithium-ion batteries from proven suppliers. 

Lithium-ion batteries designed specifically for UPS applications are smaller, lighter and last longer than traditional Valve-Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries, presenting an alternative for organisations seeking to leverage the benefits offered by these advanced battery technologies.

Available now in the Americas, the lithium-ion solutions are fully tested, UL listed and compatible with the Liebert NXL, Liebert EXL, Liebert NX 225-600 kVA and Liebert Series 610 UPS systems.

“While mainstream use of lithium-ion batteries is relatively new to the data centre, we have been engineering UPS solutions with lithium-ion battery backup for customers for some time,” said Peter Panfil, Vice President of global power, Vertiv. “By offering lithium-ion configurations from multiple suppliers, we are providing a broad spectrum of battery technologies that have been vigorously tested for safety and performance in multiple applications and environments.”

Lithium-ion batteries have been commonplace 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.

The benefits are substantial. Lithium-ion batteries are considerably smaller and lighter than VRLA counterparts, significantly reducing the footprint of the battery cabinets and in some cases enabling in-row battery storage. Additionally, some lithium-ion batteries can function at higher operating temperatures than VRLA, which can reduce battery cooling costs – in some cases, by as much as 70%.

Perhaps most importantly, depending on chemistry and utilisation, lithium-ion batteries can last as much as four times as long as VRLA, and routinely last two to three times as long. 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.

Liebert UPS systems with lithium-ion batteries are available for new build, retrofit or modular construction. Vertiv deployed lithium-ion batteries with its UPS systems in a 2015 pilot project with Forsythe Data Centres – one of several technologies utilised in Forsythe’s Chicago-area Retail+ facility.

"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 Datacentre Technologies and Eco-Efficient IT Channel, 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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