How to use lithium-ion batteries to improve data center power efficiency

The power supply plays a vital role in power protection in the data center infrastructure. If the UPS power supply of the data center uses lithium-ion batteries, it can bring the advantages of larger capacity, lower total cost of ownership, and longer component life.

The power supply and distribution system of the data center infrastructure can be complex and distributed. By simplifying the power architecture, operation and maintenance personnel can reduce power conversion time, save floor space, increase space utilization, and improve energy efficiency.

The UPS power supply provides backup power for the data center, and the battery is its key component. Specifically, lithium-ion batteries have key advantages in reducing data center footprint, extending service life, and improving return on investment. As their technology matures, their adoption rate will continue to grow.

Lead-acid batteries traditionally used in UPS power supplies face problems such as high energy consumption, occupying more space, and increasing costs. Lithium-ion batteries are versatile, and various industries usually use lithium-ion batteries in more demanding data centers.

For those organizations that plan to improve the performance of their data centers, a better option is to use lithium-ion batteries to meet the growing demand for electricity.

Use lithium-ion batteries to save more space in the data center

For a long time, the power system of the data center has been using valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. Although lead-acid batteries have become a standard product used for decades, lithium-ion batteries have been increasingly used in data centers due to their small footprint and high efficiency.

In addition to achieving higher safety and sustainability, UPS power supplies using lithium-ion batteries are also versatile. Lithium-ion battery systems can quickly release a large amount of electrical energy, and the charging speed is much faster than valve-regulated lead-acid batteries. With a smaller footprint and more flexible backup energy, IT teams can quickly respond to unexpected events such as power outages or capacity reductions during critical processing.

In addition to being able to operate at higher ambient temperatures and reducing cooling costs, the weight of lithium-ion batteries is 60% to 70% lower than that of lead-acid batteries of the same specification. Lithium-ion batteries can save more floor space for data centers. In data center applications, IT directors should confirm that they can adapt to the differences in charging circuits and controls between lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries.

Due to the lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and higher efficiency of lithium-ion batteries, its cost-saving benefits can be transferred to customers and stakeholders, thereby enabling users who use lithium-ion batteries to compete with less energy-efficient competitors Compared with more advantages.

Lithium-ion batteries can meet the power needs of data centers

When users reconfigure the power system, they must weigh the characteristics and advantages of lithium-ion batteries in terms of energy efficiency, installation, maintenance, and operating costs.

Although the initial cost may be high, the working life of lithium-ion batteries is 15 years, and the working life of lead-acid batteries is only 5-8 years, so the number of battery replacements is less. This also means that lithium-ion batteries will not degrade performance with more charge and discharge cycles.

Generally, batteries lose some capacity when they are not in use, and the capacity of lead-acid batteries that have been stored for a long time even drops to 85%. The capacity loss of lithium-ion batteries is relatively slow, only losing 1% of energy after 24 hours of inactivity. Due to their longer shelf life, they can last up to 18 months without the need for additional charging. In addition, lithium-ion batteries charge faster, with an average charging time of only 2 hours.

Since versatility is a key factor that needs to be considered in data center power settings, different types of lithium-ion batteries are used according to usage, such as lithium iron phosphate batteries, lithium ion manganese oxide batteries, and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries.

More and more users use lithium-ion battery UPS power supply as a backup power source. High-power sodium-ion batteries similar to lithium-ion batteries can provide enough energy to power data centers in the event of a power failure.

The IT team can better understand the application of power supply through energy usage efficiency (PUE), including power distribution, efficiency, sustainability and future demand. With this indicator, the IT team can identify power failures or determine how long IT equipment will remain in normal operation after a power outage, and determine the most suitable battery for their data center infrastructure during the evaluation process.

Precautions for installation and selection of lithium-ion batteries

The user should cooperate with the battery supplier to obtain the accurate price of the battery for upgrading the UPS power supply. These prices include the cost of the battery, but also include additional costs for connector replacement and installation services.

Data center operation and maintenance personnel must also confirm that the lithium-ion battery has the correct protection circuit and proper operating temperature and conditions to alleviate battery aging. The operation and maintenance team should also determine whether a fire protection system or a safety system is needed, because these batteries contain flammable electrolytes, and if damaged or pressurized, they may face thermal runaway or even fire. Charging protection measures are essential to prevent battery short circuit fire or explosion.

With the extension of working life and the reduction of total cost of ownership, the application of lithium-ion batteries will become more and more widespread.

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