We’re sure you’ve heard something about Lithium-ion batteries at this point. They seem to be the latest craze taking over the world of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). As usual Schneider Electric are always up to date on these new technologies, offering a range of UPS powered by Lithium-ion batteries.
As with most new technologies, there is some concerns around these new batteries. These concerns were made worse by the smartphones catching on fire when they were first introduced. But, rest assured, this technology has come a long way since then. Especially when it comes to the APC technology.
So let us put your mind at ease and let you know a little bit more about the Lithium-ion technology used in APC UPS systems and how they are very different to those used in the infamous smartphones.
Lithium-ion Batteries Vs VRLA
Before anything else, you will need to know the difference between Lithium-ion batteries and VRLA batteries. VRLA batteries are valve regulated lead acid batteries that have traditionally been the only battery used within UPS technology. It provides a lower upfront cost, and are sometimes seen as more trusted by some as the long-term effects of them have been tried and tested over the years.
Lithium-ion batteries on the other hand are a very new battery form in comparison. They come with many advantages such as longer lifespan, lighter, greater capacity, but some still worry about unknown long term effects. Whilst we can’t talk for every Lithium-ion device, Lithium-ion batteries used in APC UPS devices comply with all the new UL safety certifications (UL 1973 Sec 5.7 & 5.8) as well as UL 1642 Standard for Lithium Batteries, IEC 62133 and UN38.3to make you feel more confident in your purchase!
Whilst we are excited about all the new possibilities available with Lithium-ion devices, VRLA still has its place in the UPS world. With a lower upfront cost, many companies may opt for traditional VRLA UPS systems due to economical factors. It may also be preferred by smaller companies with just one or two local sites where VRLA UPS will provide a between ROI for their needs.
One of Lithium-ions main selling points is that they can far outlast VRLA batteries without performance degradation. The average lifespan of Lithium-ion batteries can last up to 10 years, often matching the life expectancy of some UPS models themselves. In comparison, this can be 3x longer than the lifespan of VRLA saving you money on replacement batteries and the labour to replace it.
Part of the reason that Lithium-ion batteries have such a long lifespan is because they are built to withstand a variety of conditions. Lithium-ion is able to tolerate higher temperatures, anything up to 40°C, without facing any degradation to its performance. This is ideal in data center environments that create a lot of heat, and could even save you money on your cooling options.
They are also 1/3 lighter than VRLA batteries, potentially preventing the need to reinforce flooring. Whilst one VRLA UPS won’t cause any damage on its own, customers with rooms that house multiple racks with VRLA UPS have be known to have to resort to these kinds of measures.
To fully compare the total cost of ownership (TCO), let’s look at the costs of each UPS over a 10 year period. In this scenario both UPS have a power capacity of 1000VA and an operating temperature of 25°C.
Upon the initial purchase, the VRLA UPS can seem unfathomably cheaper with some models being half the price of their Lithium-ion counterpart. But how quickly can the price catch up?
As Lithium-ion UPS have a much larger capacity, you will need to add an external battery pack with two batteries attached to the VRLA UPS to reach the same capacity. This is already an additional cost that you will need to factor in to your TCO.
Fast forward four years and your VRLA battery will need to be replaced. Not just your main battery, but your external batteries will also need to be replaced too. If you’re lucky, you will only need to do this twice over the lifespan of the UPS itself, but factoring in the cost of six batteries plus the labour will quickly add up.
Back to your Lithium-ion UPS. Whilst your initial cost of the system was a lot higher, it is then set to last for the next ten years. No add on’s, replacement batteries, or maintenance labour required.
Once you factor in all the additional expenses needed, your VRLA UPS that started at half the price can cost nearly 53% more than a Lithium-ion model over those ten years.
As we’ve already mentioned the many safety standards that APC by Schneider Electric include in all their UPS products, including UL safety certification (UL 1973 Sec 5.7 & 5.8), UL 1642 Standard for Lithium Batteries, IEC 62133 and UN38.3, but let us tell you about everything else they have in place to keep you feeling safe.
The batteries sourced of APC products are all the best-in-class Tier 1 battery cell manufacturers and battery pack integrators to ensure the best quality products are made every time. They also ensure to include robust housing around the battery pack to ensure containment of the battery and further protection for you.
Other safety design features in APC Lithium-ion UPS 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
Both UPS types have their own benefits and the decision on which battery type is right for you will depend on your individual needs. We just wanted to highlight the safety features Schneider Electric have put in place to give you peace of mind with their Lithium-ion devices in case you want to enjoy the benefits that come with these types of UPS. For further help on choosing the best UPS for you, give our team a call anytime for the guidance they can provide.
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This is just a brief look at the APC Range, if you require more Schneider Electric equipment for your business, you can check our Schneider Electric microsite for a wide range of APC products to suit your needs.
Other Schneider Electric products Available from Comms Express:
Server Racks & Accessories | NetBotz Security and Environmental Monitoring | Extended Warranty | Accessory Extended Warranty | Power Distribution Units | Uniterruptible Power Supply
If you require any further information on these or any other products that we stock here at Comms Express, please do not hesitate to contact our team who will be only too happy to help.
Until next time…