Data Centre Management: Exploiting UPS Battery Storage

Transcript of an opinion-led article about harnessing UPS battery storage that our Leo Craig contributed to the Summer edition of DCM magazine.

data centre management dcm magazine logoData Centre Management (DCM) magazine is an influential quarterly publication that keeps data centre professionals up-to-date with the latest industry trends.

Riello UPS General Manager Leo Craig spoke about the untapped potential that UPS battery storage has to help ease the pressures on the National Grid.

We reproduce the in-depth article here in full for you to enjoy!


Exploiting Stored Power In A UPS

Demand side response is an integral part of the modern, sustainable energy system evolving in the UK today. It has the potential to help reduce carbon emissions, support responsible business practice and protect the environment, all whilst reducing energy bills, and providing additional revenue streams for business.

In the data-centre sector, untapped UPS battery power could offer many businesses the chance to engage in demand side response (DSR) and reap the multiple benefits available. The UK has more than 4GW of stored power in UPS units and this valuable, additional resource could and should be exploited to help avert a capacity crisis.

With electricity demand set to double by 2050, UPS battery-centred demand-side response will be crucial in helping to balance the grid. But it is likely to be a significant number of years before this type of demand response mechanism is widely deployed.

Even if a business has taken the decision to provide some level of demand side response as part of its corporate social responsibility programme, a further leap of faith is required when it comes to using a data-centre UPS as an energy accumulator.

Alleviating fears around risks to operations, when using a UPS beyond its primary backup function, plays an important role here and it is natural that data-centre decision-makers will be keen to see peer-led examples of UPS batteries being successfully used for demand side response in a risk-free manner.

Being able to demonstrate how the energy storage theory works in practice is essential but examples are still very scarce in the UK.

Fortunately, at Riello UPS, we are able to help educate clients by highlighting our role in the creation of a ‘Virtual Power Plant’ at the office of KiWi Power, the UK’s leading demand response aggregator.

UPS Battery Storage In Action

A key player in the UK energy market since 2009, KiWi Power was the ideal choice for the pioneering energy storage project, which employs lithium-ion battery technology from GS Yuasa in conjunction with a Riello UPS device.

The project, funded by Innovate UK and led by GS Yuasa Battery Europe Ltd along with energy storage consultant Swanbarton Ltd, has resulted in the development of a virtual power plant that works by using power generated from the lithium-ion UPS batteries at peak times, instead of using power from energy system operators.

A Riello 20kVA MultiSentry UPS was used in the system, as it can support power ranging from 5-12kW and has the capability to work with GS Yuasa’s deep cycling batteries. Additional commands were programmed into the UPS firmware to enable virtual power plant operating modes for KiWi Power.

The commands incorporated a ‘discharge’ mode, where the office load is removed from the mains supply and supported by the battery; a ‘hold’ mode, where the office load is supplied from the mains with the battery remaining in a static state of charge; and a ‘charge’ mode, where the office load is supplied from mains while the battery is recharged at a programmable rate. In the event of a mains failure, the normal UPS mode is restored immediately, to support the office load.

The choice of operating mode is made by a Micro Grid Storage Manager (MGSM) developed by Swanbarton. This collects information on the National Grid status, battery state, local load and aggregated load conditions.

Thanks to the high energy density of GS Yuasa’s lithium-ion batteries, a 25kWh system could be conveniently mounted in a 19inch rack, housed in a first-floor office at KiWi Power. There was no need for reconfiguring and office space and the installation was turned around within a short space of time, ensuring minimum disruption for KiWi Power.

Making A Difference

Since installation, the virtual power plant system has been operating seamlessly to vary the demand on KiWi Power’s office in a way which is transparent to office operations.

By using Riello UPS’s highly-developed UPS hardware, KiWi Power and Swanbarton have been able to focus on the key commercial aspects of how to capture the rapidly growing revenue opportunities for energy storage.

This innovative project demonstrates that, with the right equipment in place, a UPS can become an efficient means of sustainable demand side response, as well as providing an insurance policy against power failure. As the energy landscape evolves, the hope is that more businesses will be willing to follow in KiWi Power’s footsteps.