Facilities that need to have backup power in the case of emergency, like hospitals or telecom service providers, have to stay on top of making sure their backup batteries are ready to go. There are a number of adverse conditions that can cause facilities to need to use emergency power backup, including power outages, surges, blackouts, and more.
If there was a power outage and a facility’s backup batteries are dead, that means the backup power doesn’t kick on. For certain agencies and facilities, that could be a life-and-death situation. For others, that could be a data loss that feels life-or-death.
There are several options for emergency power backups, including lithium-ion uninterruptible power supply systems, standby commercial generators, or lead-acid battery uninterruptible power supply systems.
Most emergency backup power systems are currently built with lead-acid batteries, but there are some definite disadvantages to those, including space requirements, maintenance and battery longevity. Agencies and businesses that rely on uninterruptible power supply systems are increasingly looking for ways to lower their cost while simultaneously lowering their size, weight, and cooling requirements.
Lithium-ion Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems
Lithium-ion UPS have some striking advantages in the battery backup race. In comparison to lead-acid batteries, these batteries often have a higher specific energy/energy density, a longer lifespan, a quicker recharge time, and the ability to carry out more charge/discharge cycles (as many as two or three times more cycles than a lead-acid, depending on the chemical composition of the battery).
Li-ion battery UPS can last three times as long as lead-acid battery UPS.
Lithium batteries take up much less space than traditional lead-acid batteries, meaning a lithium-ion UPS could take up 80 percent less floor space than a conventional model.
There are currently some disadvantages to lithium-ion battery systems. They are more expensive, though as technology advances, prices are falling. They are also more difficult to recycle than other batteries, as most recycling centers don’t currently accept them.
Standby Commercial Generators
Standby commercial generators are one of the main types of generators people think of when they think of emergency power options. Standby commercial generators are built into a facility and use natural gas to power the building in lieu of electricity from the source.
Standby commercial generators have some advantages in the emergency power market. Because they are already built into the facility, there is zero setup time. They kick on as soon as the power shuts off. Because they’re ensconced in the facility and operate using natural gas, they are robust systems that can work in extreme weather.
A standby commercial generator may not be the best option for a business, especially one with a smaller budget or one that needs to be mobile. Standby commercial generators require the installation of natural gas pipes and can’t be moved. Also, because of the nature of the system, it can be more expensive to install than other UPSs.
Lead-acid Battery Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems
Lead-acid batteries are regarded as the conventional and dependable UPS battery solution because they have been used for decades in UPS applications. Because they are so often used, they are also less expensive than other options. Lead-acid batteries are easily recyclable as well.
Lead-acid batteries must be replaced two to three times as often as lithium-ion batteries. They take up much more space than lithium-ion batteries, making them less appealing for mobile applications. They also don’t perform as well as lithium batteries. They take longer to charge as well.
Lithium-ion Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems are a compact, long-lasting, and quicker-charging alternative to other UPS options. Prevent catastrophe with a lithium-ion UPS