Lithium-ion Batteries Offer A Definitive, Sustainable And Cost-effective Advantage For UPS

486 Published by BSLBATT May 14,2019

As the “last barrier” to the data center power system, the new battery technology is triggering a huge new energy revolution. In recent years, Uptime’s global data center research data shows that 10% of data centers have adopted lithium-ion batteries (hereinafter referred to as lithium batteries) as energy storage devices for UPS power supplies. Schneider Electric, the global leader in digital energy management and automation, expects that the average annual growth rate of UPS lithium batteries will exceed 100% in the next three years.

Compared with lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries have unparalleled technical advantages: several times the energy density of lead-acid batteries, the lithium battery footprint is reduced by more than 60%; the weight is reduced by more than 70%; Stronger; can be quickly recharged after discharge, the number of cycles is 4 times that of lead-acid batteries; 10-15 years of long-life design and high cycle times, so that lithium batteries do not need to be replaced during the 10-year life cycle of UPS, reducing maintenance And replacement costs, ultimately helping users reduce TCO and get the most commercial value.
Schneider Electric: Considering the safety of lithium batteries from four angles

In China, the trend of UPS switching to lithium batteries will be even faster. As a global leader in data center infrastructure solutions and services, Schneider Electric found through accurate positioning and investigation of the market that in addition to the purchase price factor, Chinese customers are now focusing on safety in selecting UPS lithium batteries. As the largest energy storage component in the data center, the safety of lithium batteries depends largely on the following four points. Schneider Electric reminds users that they should pay attention to the selection during the selection:

1. High quality battery production and quality control

At present, the world’s top lithium battery manufacturers have adopted advanced automated production lines, and only through high-quality production process control can ensure the high quality and high consistency of the batteries. After the lithium battery is produced, it is necessary to form a battery module (commonly known as Module) by serially connecting a plurality of batteries. In this process, the positive and negative terminals of the battery need to be connected, and the large manufacturers usually use a laser welding machine. The terminal is soldered to reduce the contact resistance and ensure the reliability of the terminal connection. Small manufacturers generally use manual bolt and nut crimping, which is difficult to ensure reliable connection of terminals, which may bring hidden dangers to future long-term operation.

Due to the strict quality control of lithium batteries and the improvement of lead cycle life compared with lead-acid batteries, many large-brand lithium batteries can achieve a 10-year warranty in the data center field.

2. Complete BMS design

BMS (Battery Management System) is the core technology for the safety of the entire lithium battery system. When the battery has any faults such as overvoltage charging, overcurrent discharge, and battery short circuit, the fault current can be quickly cut off by the BMS to prevent the risk of thermal runaway of the battery. Schneider Electric believes that lithium battery BMS not only needs to monitor the voltage, current and temperature of each cell in real time, but also provides battery health trend analysis. More importantly, it can actively balance the charge and discharge of the cells, and ultimately improve the consistency of each cell. Avoid the entire battery failure due to the short board effect of the barrel. At present, the international first-line brand lithium battery manufacturers design and produce BMS themselves to ensure the performance matching and charge and discharge safety of their batteries and BMS.

3. Lithium battery chemical materials

For data center UPS, due to its short-time high-current discharge, large discharge power, long-term standby floating charge and other application characteristics, it is more suitable for lithium iron phosphate, lithium manganate, NCM ternary lithium technology.

The Chinese market is mainly ternary lithium and lithium iron phosphate. Although the two debates on energy density and safety are endless, it is undeniable that these disputes are only limited to one aspect of the theoretical performance of lithium battery cathode materials. Schneider Electric believes that the safety of lithium battery systems requires comprehensive consideration of anode materials, electrolytes, membrane materials, cell casings, battery module groups, BMS, fuse protection, DC circuit breakers, manufacturing process levels, quality control, etc. Many factors. The problem due to the positive electrode material of the lithium battery is less than 10% of the problem of all lithium battery systems. Schneider Electric suggested that users should comprehensively balance the safety, energy density and cost of UPS lithium batteries, and choose the lithium battery system of big brand companies to obtain reliable quality assurance.

4. Lithium battery and UPS compatibility test

Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries are self-contained with BMS. They are smart batteries that have self-management capabilities and communicate with the UPS host. When the lithium battery is fully charged, it will automatically disconnect from the UPS charger. Traditional UPS software design may consider this to be a battery failure and issue an alarm. More importantly, lithium battery charging and discharging voltages, currents, and cut-off voltages of different materials are different. For example, the rated voltage of lithium iron phosphate batteries is 3.2V, and the ternary lithium is 3.8V. Therefore, before using a lithium battery, the UPS needs to perform a strict matching test with it, and it is necessary to update the firmware for the UPS for this lithium battery.

It is worth mentioning that Schneider Electric’s UPSs listed in recent years have already had the compatibility of lithium batteries. The high-rate lithium battery used by the UPS can perform short-time high-current charging and discharging. Correspondingly, the UPS charger design also needs to adapt to this change. Schneider Electric’s new Galaxy V series UPS can charge up to 40% of the rated power of the UPS output (conventional only 10~15%). Such a powerful charger can theoretically fully charge the lithium battery in 30 minutes to 1 hour.

With the maturity and cost optimization of lithium battery technology, data center UPS will quickly complete the conversion from lead-acid batteries to lithium batteries. Since the launch of the world’s first lithium battery data center in 2012, Schneider Electric has always been a leader in promoting the application of lithium battery technology in the data center field. With strong brand and technological innovation, it has always been new in this data center. The forefront of energy technology reform has led the industry to move forward.

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