Perhaps you’ve heard that Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are now being used in uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and it’s sparking (pardon the pun) memories of smartphones catching on fire due to Li-ion battery issues . Let me put your mind at ease: the Li-ion batteries used in UPSs are very different from those that caused smart phone problems.
Safety is a Priority
I can’t speak for other providers, but the Li-ion batteries that APC by Schneider Electric uses in its UPSs all comply with the new UL safety certification (UL 1973 Sec 5.7 & 5.8) that details fire protection standards for battery-use in “stationary applications” including UPSs. In fact, that standard covers the entire energy storage system, including the enclosure.
The batteries that APC uses also comply with three other standards designed to eliminate the risk of fire from Li-ion battery cells: UL 1642 Standard for Lithium Batteries, IEC 62133 and UN38.3. The batteries that APC uses are all sourced from best-in-class Tier 1 battery cell manufacturers and battery pack integrators.
Complying with these various standards requires having a robust housing around the battery pack to offer containment and provide further protection against any problems. It also comes with a battery management system to monitor and control the energy flow in the battery pack.
Other APC Smart-UPS Li-ion safety design features include:
- Over-voltage and over temperature protection at the cell level
- Overload, short circuit protection at the pack level
- Dedicated fuse inside the battery pack, which trips in the case of any issues
- Thermal runaway protection at the pack level
The point is, when it comes to UPS batteries, it’s safety first at APC. Only by addressing the safety issue can we ensure users will benefit from the significant advantages that Li-ion offers in UPS applications.
More Li-Ion Benefits
In addition to safety features, key benefits of Li-ion in UPS applications include:
- Lighter Weight – Li-ion batteries weigh about a third less than traditional valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries, which makes them easier and safer to install in a wider variety of locations (a topic we covered in this previous post).
- Up to 2 Times the Battery Life: When compared with their VRLA counterparts, Li-ion batteries deliver a longer life and can also withstand a far greater temperature range – up to 40° C (104° F) – without degradation to the voltage or runtime performance.
- Greater Cycle Times: Li-ion can cycle some 5,000 times or more vs. about 500 for VRLA batteries.
Li-ion battery-powered UPSs do typically carry a higher up-front cost than those using VRLA technology, yet this cost is quickly offset by the two times greater lifespan of the Li-ion solution. These benefits quickly add up, and given all the lifecycle, performance, and maintenance expenses gains, the Li-ion choice delivers up to a 35% lower total cost of ownership over the course of its expected life.
Safe, reliable, and affordable Li-ion batteries in APC UPSs provide users with significant advantages over those using VRLA. This protection translates to greater peace of mind and Certainty in a Connected World for your business.
Learn more about how Li-ion UPSs deliver more benefits at lower cost.