Data Centre Alliance (DCA): Modular UPS Systems & Data Centre Efficiency

In this special article for the Data Centre Alliance (DCA), we explore how the move to modular UPS systems is helping improve energy efficiency.

Data centres already use 3% of the world’s electricity. That’s before we mention they produce as many carbon emissions as the aviation industry.

data centre alliance trade association logoAnd with demands for storage and processing capacity bound to grow in the years to come, it’s crucial operators take any steps they can to reduce their environmental footprint.

Industry trade group the Data Centre Alliance used the autumn edition of Data Centre Management magazine to highlight examples of excellence. Our data centre efficiency expert Chris Cutler explains how modular uninterruptible power supplies such as the Riello UPS Multi Power are leading the way.

Quote from Chris Cutler, Riello UPS, explaining advantages of modular uninterruptible power supplies
MAKE THE MOVE: More data centres are reaping the rewards of modern, modular UPS

Modular UPS Systems – What Are The Advantages?

Traditionally, a UPS was a sizeable static tower that could only run at optimum efficiency at heavy loads of 80-90%. Inevitably this meant many installations were oversized to offer the necessary redundancy. So the power protection systems tended to run at low, inefficient loads, wasting significant energy.

Other issues include the need for lots of energy-intensive air conditioning to keep the temperatures cool enough to operate safely.

However, modular UPS systems offer several key benefits:

  • Scalability – modularity itself means the system can closely match the power requirements. And when those requirements change, extra modules can simply be added in.
  • Efficiency – modular UPS systems use transformerless technology and can run at an efficiency of 96%, even when carrying low loads
  • Ease of maintenance – each module is hot swappable and can be replaced without the entire UPS going offline
  • Space saving – modular UPSs are much smaller than static towers, delivering greater power density in a more compact footprint

Chris goes on to explain another potential benefit of modular UPS systems. If they are able to use lithium-ion batteries, a UPS can be used to generate and store energy. This enables organisations to take advantage of schemes such as demand side response (DSR). This incentivises sites to shift energy use to non-peak times.

Read the full article in the DCA’s ‘Enabling a Greener Data Centre’ pull-out in the Autumn edition of Data Centre Management magazine