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Lithium-Ion Batteries are Energizing Data Centers

Kyle Keeper •

The movement behind lithium-ion batteries (LIB) as an auxiliary energy storage solution for critical applications continues to gain traction.

We at Vertiv have been on the leading edge of this transformation since 2011.  In fact, we are celebrating somewhat of a milestone with over 100MW of lithium-ion batteries deployed with Liebert UPS systems. 

Who is acquiring these systems?  Some are large-scale enterprise customers who have replaced older VRLA (valve-regulated lead-acid) plants which have approached their end of life, some are colocation providers, piloting LIB on one side of their critical bus (while keeping VRLA on the other), and still others are deploying LIB directly into greenfield projects. 

Why are they doing this? Most favor the extended useable life of the battery compared to traditional VRLA. They provide more cycle hits with gradual deterioration, which reduces battery replacement cycles over time, lessening disruption headaches while enhancing availability.   Others desire the smaller size, lower weight ratios against normal VRLA options.  This fact has opened the door to saving space, improving location flexibility and addressing limited floor weight thresholds. 

But, as in any new and transforming practice, there are cautions - one being safety inside a data center.  Not the safety issues seen from handheld electronics, but more the safe application and operation of the solution at your site.  Today, UL and NFPA and others have released codes and standards to assist in the safe utilization of these technologies. The Vertiv paper SAFETY RULES:  An Update of Lithium-ion Battery Use in Critical Facilitiesprovides various comparisons, answers to key questions, chemistry details, and an overview of the major codes you need to know.  Please download a copy here.  

When you are ready to evaluate a LIB solution for an upcoming project, Vertiv experts are ready to help.  Don’t hesitate to contact us. 


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