Data Centre Dynamics: Using UPS Batteries For Energy Storage

With the National Grid struggling to cope with increased demand for electricity, Riello UPS’s Leo Craig explains why using UPS batteries for energy storage is an increasingly viable solution.

In the last three years alone, 15 power stations have been decommissioned. But energy regulator Ofgem predicts the UK’s electricity demand will actually double by 2050.

data centre dynamics magazine logoHow do we square the circle of growing need with the National Grid’s dwindling power supply? Riello UPS General Manager Leo Craig explains to Data Centre Dynamics magazine how the potential of UPS battery storage might offer a solution.

In kicking off, Leo points to several reports that claim IT and data centre professionals are concerned with the reliability of the country’s electricity network. To solve this conundrum, many data centres are implementing energy efficiency measures.

Other data centres are also entering contracts with Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). These deals see them go ‘off grid’ and use their generators to provide their power. However, this relies on burning fossil fuels and increases damaging carbon emissions.

Using UPS Batteries For Energy Storage

However, the increasing affordability of lithium ion (li-ion) UPS batteries has the potential to be a real game-changer.

Taking up less than half the space but providing comparable power density to sealed lead-acid batteries, li-ion models have far higher cycle rates and recharge much, much quicker too.

dcdLeo explains how these characteristics make it possible for data centres to use their uninterruptible power supplies and batteries to accumulate electricity. This power can either be used to run the data centre instead of mains supply during more expensive peak times.

Embracing lithhium ion battery technology will undoubtedly require a radical shift in mindset. Traditionally a UPS is only used on critical loads inside the data centre. Generators provide standby power for non-critical equipment such as air conditioning.

In addition, the article goes on to explore the rise in modular data centres. This trend promotes scalability and efficiency without sacrificing reliability. These characteristics go hand-in-hand with some of the key regulations and legislation set to be introduced.

Whilst it is purely a voluntary measure at the moment, the European Commission’s ‘Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in a data centre’ may well be the forerunner for more stringent – and mandatory – legislation in the future.

Read the full article on page 39-40 of Data Centre Dynamics