A Lithium-ion or Li-Ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery that has existed for a while. It is commonly used for portable electronics and consumer devices. It is considered as a better alternative to lead-acid batteries due to its greater lifespan, thus resulting in fewer battery replacements and lower labor cost. Over the typical life-service of a UPS, a Li-Ion battery is estimated to provide a savings of 40% or more for data centers.
In the past few years, lithium-ion batteries have come into use as a popular energy source in data centers’ UPS. Let’s have a look at its advantages for data centers all over the world.
Improved Reliability and Availability
The producers of lithium-ion batteries for UPS applications are manufacturing batteries with improved battery design, quality materials, and superior manufacturing methods. As a result, the batteries have a longer lifespan and reduced maintenance requirements, which means that the likelihood of battery failure during mission-critical environments in the data center is extremely low.
In addition, lithium-ion batteries have a built-in battery management system (BMS), which provides fault monitoring, cell balancing, and power optimization capabilities for each individual battery. This system helps to maximize battery life and minimize downtime, thus improving the UPS’s reliability and availability at all times.
A lithium-ion battery’s lifespan is around 10 years under normal circumstances, which is about the same lifespan as a single-phase UPS and twice as long as a standard Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) battery. They hold their charge much better and can handle hundreds of charging cycles.
The longevity ensures a return on your investment in the technology. This is because using a lithium-ion battery eliminates the pain of replacement since they don’t have to be replaced every 3-5 years, which provides huge cost savings for companies. Additionally, they can be fully charged and stored for greater lengths of time than VRLA batteries, with minimal impact on the battery’s lifespan.
Less Sensitive to Temperature Fluctuations
Moreover, lithium-ion batteries are able to withstand a wider temperature range than VRLA batteries. The rule of thumb is that VRLA battery life is reduced by half for every 10°C (18°F) increase above 25°C (77° F) ambient temperature. When used at a low discharge rate, lithium-ion batteries are far less sensitive to temperature fluctuations, hence they can accept higher spikes in temperature with minimum effect on battery life. For very short run times and high discharge rates, such as in UPS applications, the Li-ion is still sensitive to temperature but to a lesser extent.
Compared to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries require less time to fully recharge. While VRLA batteries may take 4 hours or more to be recharged up to 90% capacity, lithium-ion batteries can reach the same level in under 2 hours for rack-based systems. This is important if the data center has several outages in short succession, as the lithium-ion battery can recharge fast enough to provide ride-through time for each outage.
Reduced Operational Costs
Despite their higher initial costs, a lithium-ion battery offers long-term savings for data center owners due to reduced operating costs, which result in a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). This is because they have an estimated design lifespan of 8-10 years, as explained above, which is approximately equal to the lifespan of a single-phase UPS. As a result, it eliminates the cost of replacing lead-acid batteries every 3-5 years, as well as the cost of shipping and labor required to replace VRLA batteries in remote data centers. After 10 years, using lithium-ion batteries results in a TCO savings of 41% more than lead-acid batteries.
In conclusion, it is clear why lithium-ion batteries are the better energy source for single-phase UPS systems compared to VRLA batteries. The combined advantage in performance, cost-effectiveness, and safety will be well worth the initial investment and provide dependable long-term service to your data centers. To further protect your business from downtime from UPS failure, schedule a routine UPS inspection. At Northern Lights Data, we can provide you with a customised solution to meet your power management needs. With routine UPS prevention checks and maintenance, our team of UPS expert master electricians will inspect and monitor all systems, ensuring that your business is equipped to handle all challenges. Mitigate your downtime and losses and get in touch with New Zealand’s leading power management consultant today.