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September 29 , 2021

Lithium-ion Battery Technology Addresses the Two Biggest UPS Concerns: Battery Life and Weight
Lithium-ion Battery Technology Addresses the Two Biggest UPS Concerns: Battery Life and Weight

Customers’ most common complaints about uninterruptible power supply (UPSs) have always revolved around two factors: battery life and weight.However, lithium-ion battery technology guarantees to provide a welcome respite, as they last more than twice as long as any standard UPS batteries while weighing less than a third of the weight.

Life of a traditional UPS battery

Valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries are commonly used in UPSs, and they typically last 3 to 5 years under normal conditions. We mention “around” because there are various factors that can reduce battery life.

The first is the battery’s charge and discharge cycles. The battery must be discharged each time the UPS is activated to backup a load. The UPS recharges the battery after its task is completed. Each of these cycles takes its toll on the battery, and every VRLA battery can only withstand so many.

Thermodynamics can potentially be a problem for VRLA batteries. High ambient temperatures will not only shorten the battery’s life but also affect its overall performance.

Either of these problems can shorten the life of a VRLA battery and force it to be replaced. Customers must pay not just for the new battery but also for the work required in replacing it, which can be an expensive prospect. This is especially true in a widely distributed environ, such as a business with multiple retail stores or branch offices.

Why is weight a concern with UPSs?

In addition, VRLA batteries are relatively heavy. This has ramifications for a big UPS system, including installation for example – UPS for server room. Because the batteries are so heavy, larger UPSs may require two or three people to install. You may also be required to remove the battery during installation. Labour costs are substantial in both cases.

In some cases, typically in data centres or server rooms, customers may need to reinforce the flooring on which racks containing several UPSs sit to sustain their weight. This, too, becomes an expensive endeavour.

Lithium-ion batteries are a preferable option for UPS batteries.

Lifespan and weight issues, both are addressed by lithium-ion batteries. For starters, lithium-ion batteries can last up to ten years longer than VRLA batteries. That’s about the same as a UPS’s estimated lifespan, which means a Lithium-ion UPS battery will never need to be replaced. This is true even at extreme temperatures, as lithium-ion batteries can function at temperatures as high as 40° C/104° F without losing performance.

Second, Lithium-ion batteries are approximately 30% lighter than VRLA batteries. This eliminates the requirement for reinforced floors and simplifies installation.

All of these advantages come at a higher price than VRLA batteries, but when you factor in all of the costs associated with VRLA batteries in terms of lifespan, maintenance, and weight, Microtek’s Lithium-ion based UPSs for server rooms and home use, for example, offer about a 50% lower total cost of ownership than VRLA batteries.

Benefits of Lithium-ion batteries

The above paragraphs on UPS battery life and weight and lowering lifecycle costs have detailed the benefits of Lithium-ion technology compared to VRLA batteries. However, we would love to summarize all the above points again:

  • Three times the battery life in comparison to VRLA
  • Up to 65% reduction in weight
  • Simplified maintenance
  • 28% to 45% smaller footprint
  • Remote monitoring and management lead to predictable UPS performance
  • The Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) as compared to VRLA-based UPSs
  • Lithium-ion batteries degrade less than VRLA under similar operating conditions

While you may believe that doubling the battery life will result in fewer battery sales and lower income, this is unlikely. For one thing, Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive upfront than VRLA batteries, so you’ll make more money on the first sale. Furthermore, the longer cycle life of Lithium-ion batteries allows for new applications that were previously impossible with VRLA, resulting in new commercial opportunities.

Download the free white paper, “Battery Technology for Single Phase UPS Systems: VRLA vs. Li-ion,” to discover more about the advantages of Lithium-ion batteries and how they may help you achieve Certainty in a Connected World. We believe you’ll agree that Lithium-ion makes solid commercial sense for many medium to large enterprise deployments. Do you want to know more? Consider the advantages of using Microtek’s Smart-UPS for server room with Lithium-Ion battery technology for your company.