Industrial rack-mounted uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) are used in data centers or telecom central offices to provide backup power for servers and switching equipment in the event of failure. Historically, these UPS’s have relied on Lead Acid as the predominant battery type. With the introduction of the Open Compute Project (OCP) initiative and hyperscale data centers, Lithium-ion batteries are gaining market share over the incumbent Lead Acid battery technology.
This article presents some of the thermal considerations and trade-offs when selecting a Lithium-ion UPS system to complement your data center equipment. There are two available chemistry options Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) and Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC). Operators need to consider expected discharge time, active versus passive cooling, options for scalability, and the expected lifetime of the batteries.
Two practical Lithium chemistries for UPSs
For typical UPS applications, there are two popular Lithium-ion chemistry variants offered by UPS vendors. Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) is the most common Lithium chemistry in the world, as it is predominantly used in notebooks and cell phones for example. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is less common in consumer applications but is used in high cycle life or high-power applications such as power drills or industrial electric vehicles (buses, forklifts). While both chemistries are based on Lithium-Ion exchange, they have some...
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