Archive for June, 2012

Battery Technologies for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Environmental Regulations

Posted by on June 27, 2012  |  No Comments

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Approximately 90% of stationary batteries deployed in US data centers are of the lead-acid type. Lead and electrolyte must be reported in different ways to regulatory agencies depending upon the jurisdictional circumstances. This paper attempts to cut through the maze of regulations and focuses specifically on lead-acid battery requirements in terms that most data center professionals can understand. In general, the rules apply only to very large battery installations, and generally concern planning (reporting the presence of batteries at a site) and accidents (reporting spills or “releases”).

Environmental regulatory compliance is focused on the amount of electrolyte / sulfuric acid and lead in a particular location. Of the three popular technologies, vented (flooded or wet cells), valve regulated (VRLA or sealed) and modular battery cartridges (MBC), flooded batteries contain the highest levels of electrolyte / sulfuric acid and lead. The smaller amounts of electrolyte / sulfuric acid and lead in VRLA and MBC batteries allow for larger battery systems to be installed without the regulatory compliance required of comparable vented batteries.

Common questions that need to be addressed when installing a UPS battery system include the following:

  • Will I have to report my batteries as hazardous material (hazmat)?
  • Where do I find the rules?
  • What are EPCRA,SARA, SERC, CERCLA, LEPC, etc. and why do I care?
  • What do I have to declare?
  • When do I have to declare it?
  • To whom do I have to declare it?
  • What forms do I have to use?
  • What if I don’t do it?

Most commercial battery back-up systems fall below government-required reporting levels, but large UPS and DC plant batteries may have to comply. Failure to comply can result in costly penalties. Wading through the Code of Federal Regulations can be a complex and time-consuming task.

The following scenario illustrates the common concern about batteries and compliance: An IT manager is responsible for a building into which he will be installing (or maybe already has installed) a large, lead-acid battery system to back up critical operations. He is nervous enough about all these batteries and stored electricity under his roof, and now somebody says that he may have a compliance issue. He’s already been down the road with the electrical inspectors and fire marshals, and now he hears that the Federal Government may have a disturbing interest in his facility as well. Who are these people and what do they want?

“Battery Technologies for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Environmental Regulations” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

Some lead-acid batteries located in data centers are subject to government environmental compliance regulations. While most commercial battery back-up systems fall below required reporting levels, very large UPS and DC plant batteries may have to comply. Failure to comply can result in costly penalties. Environmental compliance regulations focus on the amount of sulfuric acid and lead in a given location. This paper offers a high level summary of the regulations and provides a list of environmental compliance information resources.

Contents:

  • Getting started
  • What are the rules
  • Emergency planning and response plans
  • Summary of inventory reporting steps

Conclusion:

Most commercial applications of stationary lead-acid batteries will fall well below the reporting quantities required by the EPA. Flooded batteries are more likely than VRLA batteries to require reporting, whether for reporting inventory or for the release of hazardous materials. Large battery systems can add significantly to a company’s compliance work. Although spills or releases of hazardous material (hazmat) for batteries at the reporting threshold are quite rare, one must nevertheless report the presence of battery inventories in the building to local and state authorities, and one must have an emergency preparedness plan in place.

White Paper Written By:

Stephen McCluer is a Senior Manager for external codes and standards at Schneider Electric. He has 30 years of experience in the power protection industry, and is a member of NFPA, ICC, IAEI, ASHRAE, The Green Grid, BICSI, and the IEEE Standards Council. He serves on a number of committees within those organizations, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and authors technical papers and articles on power quality topics. He served on a task group to rewrite the requirements for information technology equipment in the 2011 National Electrical Code.

Universal Networking Services’s partnership with Universal Power Group, Inc. has enabled us to build a strong distribution network of battery and related power components that meet consumer needs for accessibility, portability, security and mobility, coupled with value added offerings such as battery pack assembly and battery replacement/recycling programs.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic.

Don’s Corner: More Training = More Uptime

Posted by on June 22, 2012  |  No Comments

Don Melchert, Critical Facility Specialist

Late in the night at the NOC, an alarm sounds…

John:  Hey, there’s an alarm on the UPS.”

Larry:  What is it?  Did you log in?

John:  What’s the password?

Larry:  I dunno, try “GeauxT1gers”

John:   Nope, but now it has 3 alarms.

Larry:  Oh wait…change the S to a Z and try again.  What alarms are showing?

John:  That’s it…I’m in.  I don’t know what all this means, but there’s a lot of red on the screen.  Oh, here it is, ALARMS.   It says…”Input out of tolerance…UPS on Battery…Low Battery Warning…”  We might have lost power.

Larry:  The lights are still on, but I don’t know, did we lose power?”

John:  Guess so…wait, now it says…”Battery Weak.”  What do we do?

Larry:  Go to Bypass, maybe, you think?  Do you know how to do that?

John:  Heck no!  Let’s call that UPS guy.  Where’s the book for it?

Larry:  I think it’s in Frank’s cube? If the power is out, won’t the generator kick on?

John:  Maybe it takes a few minutes to kick over?  Never mind, we just lost the network.

In working with Data Centers around the country, I’ve come to realize scenarios like this happen more often than we care to discuss.  The thing is, after the damage assessment is performed and the data analyzed, another odd similarity shows itself.  As it usually is with most accidents, every one of them is preventable, in one way or another.  While reading the scenario above, I’m sure many solutions were jumping to mind, but the one that would have made the biggest difference, in my humble opinion, is Site Training.  Let’s break it down and see how Site Training would have saved the day, possibly even prevented John and Larry from their inevitable butt chewing, or worse.

Speed– Regular Site Training would have given our confused NOC members the familiarity to know how to access the alarming UPS quickly, allowing them to have more information available to begin the process of fault analysis.  Each member of your IT support team, that’s anyone with access to your Data Center, should be trained in how to respond to an alarm on any piece of critical equipment, not just the servers.  Consider this, if your UPS has a battery runtime of less than 10 minutes, a team member must be able to respond and correct the problem in less time than it takes most people to take a shower.  How long does it take your newest team member to diagnose a fault and know what to do next?

Understanding– Properly coordinated Site Training brings to light the idiosyncrasies of your particular data center and how each piece of your NCPI is dependent upon the other.  In our scenario, once the UPS screen was accessed, their training would have allowed them to realize they had lost a phase of their utility feed and were rapidly draining their weak batteries into oblivion.  Even if they had forgotten what in the universe an electrical phase is, John or Larry would have at least realized they were missing one.  In having attended their quarterly Site Training, the late night NOC crew might have saved the day by manually starting their generator.  When is the last time your IT and Facilities practiced starting the generator and transferring the critical load on the ATS?

Confidence– Site Specific Training gives people, the backbone of any critical operation, the ability to push fear and confusion aside, allowing them to see the way out of a bad situation. John and Larry, having been provided regular Hands-on Site Training, would have been confident enough in their ability to operate the critical equipment that they would not have hesitated to get up out of their chairs and walk up to the alarming UPS to investigate things further.

As an instructor for Data Center University and today with UNS Data Center Institute, I’ve learned that the majority of today’s most intelligent professionals become frozen when faced with the fear of failing in front of their peers.  I’ve practically had to shove students toward the training lab, but open the door for lunch and off they run!  Old habits from grade school die hard, don’t they?  In many cases, both IT and Facilities staff take a “hands-off approach” when it comes to touching their NCPI assets, simply because they are afraid of causing a failure themselves.  Think about it, in the scenario above, what was the outcome?  Exactly!  Confusion and fear resulted in a total failure of their critical network.  Instead of having to explain to the CEO why their company couldn’t take orders for 5 hours, John and Larry’s IT Director could have been praising the speed, understanding and confidence of their IT Team.  Only Site Training, and the hands-on familiarity that comes with it can give you that.  Their IT Director may have had a lot more fun in the morning meeting, and hey, while the rest of the Execs are still smiling and clapping, now would be a great time to ask for that new In-Row cooling unit…and maybe even some new, comfy chairs for the NOC..?

If your organization hasn’t been afforded the opportunity to conduct Site Training in the past few months, or if you’re unsure where to even start when it comes to determining which NCPI assets to train on, never fear, UNS is here to help!

To learn more about Site Training please visit Universal Networking Services Institute (Click Here).

Can Your Electrical Infrastructure Weather a Natural Disaster?

Posted by on June 20, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper

Businesses are under increasing pressure to maximize profits and minimize downtime.  Therefore, it is extremely important to have a contingency plan for continued operations in the event of a natural disaster or emergency.  Actions taken during the first 24 to 48 hours of a disaster are critical in determining whether or not a business fully recovers.  As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster according to the latest research.

While natural disasters cannot be prevented, having a detailed emergency recovery plan can limit the financial and person havoc they can cause.  A good starting point is to address the following key areas:

  • Ensure electrical equipment is properly maintained
  • Identify the electrical equipment that is critical to operations
  • Be aware of the most current natural disaster recovery codes and standards
  • Know the effects of water damage to electrical equipment
  • Develop a safety plan to incorporate emergency procedures
  • Develop an electrical action plan

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) provide guidelines to develop disaster recovery emergency response, and safety plans.  This paper will incorporate those guidelines to help in the creation of both short-term and long-term restoration plans.  The number one priority for both plans is to safely restore power.

“Can Your Electrical Infrastructure Weather a Natural Disaster?” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Summary:

Contingency planning for continued business operations is a multi-faceted risk management function.  While natural disasters cannot be avoided, their impact may be somewhat lessened if businesses are better prepared.  This paper identifies pre-planning exercises companies can complete to help restore electrical distribution and control equipment efficiently and safely.

Contents:

  • Natural Disaster Definition & Statistics
  • Three Steps to Electrical Disaster Recovery Planning
    • Step 1:  Knowledge of the Electrical System
    • Step 2: Develop (or Update) an Electrical Safe Work Practices Policy
    • Step 3: Electrical Emergency Action Plan
  • Developing an Electrical Emergency Action Plan

Conclusion:

When a natural disaster strikes, its impact on individuals, communities and businesses can be devastating.  Restoring electrical power is a crucial part of the recovery process.  Regardless of the industry or facility type, having a detailed Electrical Safe Work Practices (ESWP) policy and an Electrical Emergency Action Plan (EEAP) can help recovery efforts.  Multiple standards exist from OSHA, NFPA and NEMA to serve as guidelines for businesses to help them understand and develop a contingency plan in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

White Paper Written By:

Ke Qin, Senior Marketing Specialist

Chad Kennedy, Industry Standards Manager, Power Equipment

Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: VRLA Reliability and Safety

Posted by on June 20, 2012  |  No Comments

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Valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries have been used in UPS systems for almost 20 years. Compared to traditional flooded cell solutions, VRLA batteries allow higher power density and lower capital costs. VRLA batteries are typically deployed within power systems smaller than 500 kVA. Features of a VRLA battery include:

  • Container is sealed; liquid cannot be added or removed
  • Contains lead plates in a solution of sulfuric acid diluted in water (electrolyte)
  • Electrolyte is immobilized (not allowed to flow)
  • Operates at high currents
  • Safety vents allow escape of gas only under fault or excess charging conditions
  • Oxygen & hydrogen are recombined internally to form water
  • Installed in open frames or large cabinets (or embedded inside small power systems)

This paper will explore in greater detail some of the operating considerations of the VRLA battery. Concerns about VRLA batteries generally center on two issues: reliability and safety. Because of their wide usage (deployed at an estimated rate of 10 million units per year), many people have had experience – both good and bad – with VRLA technology. To better understand both the extent as well as the limitations of VRLA technology, we first need to understand the variations in VRLA design and the theory of operation. We can then look at the application and misapplication of this technology. All products eventually come to an end of useful life. We will explore when that should be in a VRLA battery and how that life could be lengthened or shortened according to its application and care. Although catastrophic failures are rare, we will look at what safety hazards are possible when VRLA batteries are misapplied or misused.

“Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: VRLA Reliability and Safety” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

The valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery is the predominant choice for small and medium sized uninterruptible power supply (UPS) energy storage. This white paper explores how the technology affects overall battery life and system reliability. It will examine the expected performance, life cycle factors, and failure mechanisms of VRLA batteries.

Contents:

  • VRLA types
  • VRLA theory of operations
  • VRLA life expectancy
  • Failure modes
  • Safety
  • Handling and environmental safety

Conclusion:

When properly applied and maintained, VRLA batteries and cartridges such as those used in small and medium-sized UPS systems can give reliable performance for three to five years or longer (depending upon battery selection). Battery dry-out is a major cause of VRLA battery end of life. Continuous monitoring and control systems can detect and respond to conditions that could cause premature cell failure. Temperature compensated and current limited charging can help prevent thermal runaway. Use of redundant, parallel strings can reduce the consequences of a cell failure and increase the life of a battery system.

VRLA batteries are safe to use in data centers and network rooms when properly applied and maintained. Neglect, abuse, or improper application can create conditions that could push a battery into failure mode. In extreme cases, catastrophic failure can cause fire and/or release of hazardous gases. Proper cooling and ventilation, regular monitoring, use of parallel strings, and temperature compensated charging can all contribute to long battery life and safety.

White Paper Written By:

Stephen McCluer is a Senior Manager for external codes and standards at Schneider Electric. He has 30 years of experience in the power protection industry, and is a member of NFPA, ICC, IAEI, ASHRAE, The Green Grid, BICSI, and the IEEE Standards Council. He serves on a number of committees within those organizations, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and authors technical papers and articles on power quality topics. He served on a task group to rewrite the requirements for information technology equipment in the 2011 National Electrical Code.

Universal Networking Services’s partnership with Universal Power Group, Inc. has enabled us to build a strong distribution network of battery and related power components that meet consumer needs for accessibility, portability, security and mobility, coupled with value added offerings such as battery pack assembly and battery replacement/recycling programs.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic.

Guide for Reducing Data Center Physical Infrastructure Energy Consumption in Federal Data Centers

Posted by on June 20, 2012  |  No Comments

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The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007), along with the more recent Executive Order 13514, ask Federal government agencies to improve their environmental, energy and economic performance.  The typical data center consumes 50x the amount of energy of the average office space and is an obvious target for action  In fact, Federal Chief Information Officer Kundra cites an EPA report stating that Federal servers and data centers consumed 6 billion kWh of electricity in 2006.  If the current trend in energy consumption is allowed to continue, that consumption could exceed 12 billion kWh by 2012.  One of Kundra’s goals is to “promote the use of Green IT by reducing the overall energy and real estate foot print of government data centers.”  The federal government is looking for “game-changing approaches” to deal with the problematic growth in data centers rather than “brute force consolidation.”

So what do these high level mandates mean for Federal facility managers, IT managers and energy managers? Federal data center stakeholders will have to assess the energy situation within their own particular data centers and then formulate short-term and long-term plans for changes to their existing practices and existing infrastructure.  This paper will focus on energy efficiency gains that can be realized through optimization of physical infrastructure (i.e., power and cooling equipment).  Physical infrastructure accounts for more than half of the total energy consumption of a typical data center.  Approaches for improving IT equipment efficiency (i.e., servers, storage, telecommunications devices) are NOT within the scope of this paper.

“Guide for Reducing Data Center Physical Infrastructure Energy Consumption in Federal Data Centers” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

In an effort to create a clean energy economy, recent US presidents and congress have issued a series of legislation and executive orders requiring federal agencies to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in government facilities.  Vivek  Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer, is supporting that effort by establishing a Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative to help reduce energy consumption in over 1,100 Federal data centers.  US Federal data center managers are on a timeline to respond with their final consolidation plan.  This paper analyzes the implication of these mandates and offers recommendations for how to improve energy efficiency in Federal data centers.  This paper is written for a US-only audience.

Contents:

  • The challenge of energy efficiency
  • How an efficiency assessment can help
  • Understanding the language of data center efficiency
  • Factors impacting data center efficiency measurement
  • Measuring & modeling
  • Integration of a mathematical model
  • Data center efficiency best practices

Conclusion:

Energy efficiency initiatives in Federal data centers can begin with assessments that can easily reveal the “low hanging fruit” when it becomes to energy conversation.  Techniques, such as blanking panels and hot aisle/cold aisle orientation for racks, can begin the process of improved energy efficiency.

However, the essence of improvement is accurate measurement of energy being consumed so that a baseline for improvement can be established.  Data center energy efficiency models can be utilized, at a reasonable cost, to measure consumption to a surprisingly accurate degree.

Once consumption is measured, management techniques and new technologies can then be deployed which significantly reduce energy costs throughout the electrical room, mechanical room and IT room of the data center.

White Paper Written By:

Ellen Kotzbauer, BEP, is a 19-year veteran of Schneider Electric and has held numerous engineering, manufacturing and marketing positions in the company. She is currently the Government segment manager and is responsible for defining and executing marketing strategy and campaigns for Schneider Electric government customers in the U.S. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and is a certified Business Energy Professional.

Dennis Bouley, is a Senior Research Analyst at Schneider Electric’s Data Center Science Center.  He holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and French from the University of Rhode Island and holds the Certificat Annuel from the Sorbonne in Paris, France.  He has published multiple articles in global journals focused on data center IT and physical infrastructure environments and has authored several white papers for The Green Grid.

Additional References:

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007)

Executive Order 13514


Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Site Planning

Posted by on June 18, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 33

Batteries for uninterruptible power systems (UPS) are almost universally of the lead-acid type and are of one of the following three technologies:

  1. Vented (flooded or wet cells
  2. Valve regulated (VRLA)
  3. Modular battery cartridges (MB)

Please refer to White Paper 30, Battery Technology for the Data Centers and Network Rooms: Lead-Acid Battery Options , for more details.

“Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Site Planning” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

The site requirements and costs for protecting information technology and network environments are impacted by the choice of uninterrupted power supply (UPS) battery technology. This paper will discuss how battery technologies impact site requirements.

Contents:

  • Adaptability
  • Planning issues

Conclusion:

IT systems present a rapidly changing requirement for data center infrastructure. Fast response to this change can be difficult but can be facilitated by the appropriate selection of UPS battery technology.

The different battery technologies now available vary considerably in their site planning requirements and in their ability to create battery systems that can adapt to changing requirements.

A typical data center design process focuses on power and runtime as the drivers in battery selection and cost. An alternative approach is to focus on how adaptable the battery system needs to be to changing requirements. This approach can give rise to dramatic savings over the life of the system.

White Paper Written By:

Stephen McCluer is a Senior Manager for external codes and standards at Schneider Electric. He has 30 years of experience in the power protection industry, and is a member of NFPA, ICC, IAEI, ASHRAE, The Green Grid, BICSI, and the IEEE Standards Council. He serves on a number of committees within those organizations, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and authors technical papers and articles on power quality topics. He served on a task group to rewrite the requirements for information technology equipment in the 2011 National Electrical Code.

Universal Networking Services’s partnership with Universal Power Group, Inc. has enabled us to build a strong distribution network of battery and related power components that meet consumer needs for accessibility, portability, security and mobility, coupled with value added offerings such as battery pack assembly and battery replacement/recycling programs.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic.

Don’s Corner: “Why Aren’t My Batteries Lasting As Long As They Used To?”

Posted by on June 14, 2012  |  No Comments

Don Melchert, Critical Facility Specialist

Why aren’t my batteries lasting as long as they used to?

Scenario: Your trusty UPS has been providing faithful service for the past 8 years.  Maybe it’s had a couple of minor repairs, like fan replacements and a capacitor upgrade, but other than the full battery refresh during the 5th year, “Old Faithful” has been holding up its end of the bargain.  Lately though, it seems as though the batteries just aren’t what they used to be.  It couldn’t be the data center’s fault, could it?  Nothing’s really changed in there…well, maybe the legs were balanced after the load increased from 50% to 65%, but the room is still stable at 73F and the utility power has actually improved over the years.  However, now the UPS is displaying a “Battery Weak” alarm only after 3 years of service.  How could this be, and what is there to be done about it?  To answer those questions requires a basic understanding of the underlying issue: battery quality.

The first question’s easy to tackle and has a clear answer, so let’s start there.  Years ago, batteries weighed more, simply because they were made from quality ingredients, more specifically, there was more lead.  With changes in manufactures, factory locations and most importantly, battery quality has taken a turn for the worst.  Don’t believe me?  I have a simple experiment for you:  For the first, grab a small, 7.2AH battery made before 2006, and an equivalent battery made in 2011.  Weigh them separately and see what you find.

I think it’s safe to say that these days, Superman would be having a much easier time seeing what’s in Lex Luthor’s data center!

It’s as simple as this… lower levels of lead are being used in the construction of new batteries, and so the likelihood of getting a battery to last more than 3 years is few and far between.  Oh, the charge rate is the same (battery reaches set charge voltage), even the discharge rate is the same (time before the low limit is reached), but it’s the number of discharge cycles that has changed.  A typical deep-cycle battery delivers 100–200 cycles before it starts the gradual decline to its ultimate failure.  At less than 75%, this same battery will begin to decline exponentially faster.  Unfortunately, for the critical data community, this means we are forced to either accept the fact that we’ll be changing our batteries sooner, or we accept the fact that in order to get the same quality we’ve grown accustomed to, we’ll have to pay a premium to have it.

Hey, I never said this would be a feel good post!  Never fear though, doom and gloom isn’t my style, so, let’s see what we can do to turn it around…

Since the mission of a data center isn’t likely to become, “…provide data to end-users when it’s convenient…”, we have to decide if we want to put our time and money into maintaining our batteries, or just throwing more money at the problem.  From my standpoint, it’s always better to take better care of what you have now, rather than ask for more money from the Bean Counters before a total battery failure.  I can hear you now, “What does that mean?”  It’s easy…get a battery PM performed now!  If a battery is found to be below acceptable limits (75% capacity), don’t just replace it with the lowest bidder.  Take some time to work with a reputable source to determine which battery is best for your particular situation.  Even if the technician finds nothing wrong at all, be sure to schedule another inspection before he or she leaves your facility.  Will you pay a little more? Possibly, yes, but it’s called Preventative Maintenance for a reason, and prevention is always cheaper than what comes after making that call to your CEO that starts off something like, “Sir, our network is down because…” How often to have battery PMs performed depends on how old the batteries are and how well they’re treated.   In doing so, you’ll be able to weed out the batteries that aren’t playing well with others before a total battery failure occurs.

And let’s be honest, when does that ever happen during normal business hours?

Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Lifecycle Costs

Posted by on June 11, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 35

Lead-acid batteries are the predominant choice for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) energy storage for data centers and network rooms. This white paper will compare the lifecycle costs the three lead-acid battery technologies, vented (flooded, also called wet cells), valve regulated (VRLA), and modular battery cartridges (MBC). Please see White Paper 30, Battery Technologies for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Battery Options for more information about the different types of battery technologies.

Each installation is unique and results in different costs. This paper uses estimates from several different sources. While every effort was made to ensure accuracy, the examples in this paper are only a guideline and factors relating to a particular installation must be incorporated for decision-making and budgetary purposes.

“Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Lifecycle Costs” Full White Paper (Click To Download Here)

Executive Summary:

The lifecycle cost of different UPS battery technologies is compared. The costs associated with the purchase of batteries, the infrastructure costs, and the costs associated with inflexibility to meet changing requirements are discussed and quantified.

Contents:

  • Lifecycle Costs
  • Selection factors other than lifecycle costs

Conclusion:

This analysis finds large differences in the life-cycle costs of the different UPS battery technologies. After reviewing all three steps it is clear that a MBC battery solution can offer over 50% savings over VRLA and flooded battery solutions. Often only the battery system costs are compared and then the differences might not be compelling enough to warrant a switch from a known technology. When the infrastructure costs are added the lifecycle savings between the technologies is dramatic. This is why of the UPS sold each year world wide, over 99% use VRLA batteries or MBC. The adaptability of MBC increases the speed of deployment and can allow recovery of the 75% of cost the average data center loses due to oversizing.

Factors relating to system availability have driven some installations to deploy flooded cells despite the lower life cycle cost of VRLA or MBC batteries. The technology of the MBC battery system specifically addresses many of these issues.

When compared with flooded cell battery systems, the MBC can save over 90% in life cycle costs in a real-world situation. Most of this cost advantage results from the ability to size the battery system to the current requirement and add as needed to meet changing requirements.

In cases where the ultimate load value is pre-determined and full utilization is achieved at the first commissioning of the system, much of the advantage of the MBC battery system is lost. However, the engineering, installation, and maintenance cost advantages still provide a savings of up to 60% when compared with flooded cells.

White Paper Written By:

Stephen McCluer is a Senior Manager for external codes and standards at Schneider Electric. He has 30 years of experience in the power protection industry, and is a member of NFPA, ICC, IAEI, ASHRAE, The Green Grid, BICSI, and the IEEE Standards Council. He serves on a number of committees within those organizations, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and authors technical papers and articles on power quality topics. He served on a task group to rewrite the requirements for information technology equipment in the 2011 National Electrical Code.

Universal Networking Services’s partnership with Universal Power Group, Inc. has enabled us to build a strong distribution network of battery and related power components that meet consumer needs for accessibility, portability, security and mobility, coupled with value added offerings such as battery pack assembly and battery replacement/recycling programs.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic.

Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Lead-Acid Battery Options

Posted by on June 4, 2012  |  1 Comment

White Paper 30

Energy storage technologies in data centers play an important role in maintaining system uptime. Should utility power fail, the first line of defense is usually batteries that are incorporated as part of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system. Although alternative energy storage technologies such as fuel cells, flywheels, lithium ion, and nickel cadmium batteries are being explored (see White Paper 65, Comparing Data Center Batteries, Flywheels, and Ultracapacitors for more details) data center and network room UPS systems almost exclusively utilize lead-acid batteries. This paper reviews and compares the three major lead-acid battery technologies available today.

“Battery Technology for Data Centers and Network Rooms: Lead-Acid Battery Options” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

The lead-acid battery is the predominant choice for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) energy storage. Over 10 million UPSs are presently installed utilizing flooded, valve regulated lead acid (VRLA), and modular battery cartridge (MBC) systems. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of these three lead-acid battery technologies.

Contents:

  • Lead-acid battery technologies
  • Attributes

Conclusion:

Vented (flooded or wet cell) batteries have a very long life but present significant complexity of installation and maintenance, the most significant being the need to build a separate battery room. These limitations have historically restricted the application of vented cells to very high power installations.

The VRLA battery was developed in response to the limitations of the wet-cell battery, and provides significant benefits in the area of installation costs, maintenance costs, energy density and safety. However, VRLA reliability can be compromised through improper installation and / or misapplication. Although the battery life of the MBC is shorter than that of vented cells, the benefits of this technology, even with a shorter battery life, present a compelling value proposition for today’s data centers and network rooms, especially in systems smaller than 500 kW.

All of the hazardous failure modes can be controlled by appropriate system design. Parallel string designs, ventilation, overcharge protection, temperature compensated charging, and battery monitoring are the principal techniques utilized to eliminate battery failure hazards.

White Paper Written By:

Stephen McCluer is a Senior Manager for external codes and standards at Schneider Electric. He has 30 years of experience in the power protection industry, and is a member of NFPA, ICC, IAEI, ASHRAE, The Green Grid, BICSI, and the IEEE Standards Council. He serves on a number of committees within those organizations, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and authors technical papers and articles on power quality topics. He served on a task group to rewrite the requirements for information technology equipment in the 2011 National Electrical Code.

Universal Networking Services brings a comprehensive solution from the utility pole to the server and assists with navigating the complex waters of most size and scope of projects. Whether you are upgrading, retrofitting or developing a new design-build, UNS and its partners generate efficient, scalable, reliable and manageable critical infrastructure solutions to your organization. Our holistic, common sense approach lowers our clients Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximizes efficiencies offered by the advancements in critical power and cooling infrastructure.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic.