Pros and cons of Lithium-ion batteries in UPS

For decades now backup solutions have been powered almost exclusively by the tried-and-true veteran of the industry, valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries. But in recent years, a new player has been carving a niche in the market.

Lithium-Ion batteries, widely used in consumer electronics, including smartphones, and electric cars, have just started being adopted for energy storage in data center backup systems. But industry experts predict that this technology will take off in the coming years.

We have collected the most important facts you need to know about this technology:


  • Total cost of ownership for lithium-ion batteries is less, especially as lithium-ion pricing has dropped significantly over the last two years.
  • Lithium-ion batteries last for 12 – 15 years compared with 7 – 8 years for valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA) types.
  • Lithium-ion batteries offer improved energy density, being up to 70% smaller and 60% lighter. This leads to a smaller general footprint: It is estimated that a lithium-ion battery system for a UPS will occupy 50 to 80 percent less floor space and weigh 60 to 80 percent less than a comparable lead-acid system.


  • Lithium-ion batteries have a higher purchase price. Currently, the installed cost of a Li-ion system will run roughly 1.5 to 3 times higher than a comparable VRLA solution, but experts predict this gap will narrow considerably.
  • Li-ion batteries are not typically hot-swappable in UPS systems.
  • The physical differences between lead-acid and li-ion batteries mean that li-ion batteries are not necessarily a direct replacement for lead-acid batteries.
  • Deployment in UPSs remains relatively narrow. However, this is expected to change as the batteries’ manufacturing costs continue to decrease.
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Report predicts significant growth for global transformerless UPS market

According to Stratistics MRC, the global transformerless UPS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.4% during 2017-2023. Increasing demand from various industries, raising technological advancements in transformerless UPS, and growing focus on alternate power sources are some of the major factors propelling the market growth during the forecast period.

On the other hand, high operational costs of transformerless UPS are hampering the market growth.

Among the applications segment, IT industry signifies higher growth rate during the forecast period. Asia Pacific is expected to witness fastest growth on account of rapid industrialization growth and poor power supplies.

Find out more about the report here»

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Demand for battery back-up in data centers : Lithium-ion growing, but lead-acid systems still dominate

Data centers are the major purchasers of lead-based batteries which improve the power quality and provide instantaneous back-up power. This is a rapidly growing market: demand for battery back-up in data centers across North America and Europe will quadruple between 2016 and 2025, rising from 3.5 to 14 gigawatt-hours, according to a new report by the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

This clearly shows that lead-acid systems will likely remain the dominant and low-cost solution for UPS energy storage, at least in the short term.

Lithium-Ion batteries, widely used in consumer electronics, including smartphones, and electric cars, have just started being adopted for energy storage in data center backup systems. But the report estimates that this technology will take off in the coming years with a market share increasing from 1 to 35 percent over just a few years.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

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Video: Solving a data center’s need for rightsizing and simple scalability

In the following video Gadi Has, Director of Operations at Volico Data Centers, takes time out at the 2017 ABB Customer World US event to share how they replaced an aging UPS system with ABB’s Conceptpower DPA 500 to add capacity and high availability. Volico uses ABB Service and preventative maintenance to support their entire infrastructure including using ABB’s Advanced Digital Services to automate the control, monitoring and response of their data centers.

Find out more about this use case in the recent issue of our e-magazin power.
Power is available for download here»


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Increase in adoption of modular UPS systems drives global data center UPS market

Market research analysts at Technavio predict that the global data center UPS market will grow steadily during the next four years at a CAGR of more than 9% by 2021.

According to the new report “Global Data Center UPS Market 2017-2021“, one key driver in the market is increase in adoption of modular UPS systems. Modern data center designs comprise of UPS systems of both higher and lower capacity, which can be categorized into centralized, zone, and rack-mount systems.

These systems vary in both capacity and size based on the installed locations and need of an enterprise data center facility. UPS systems of lower capacity (i.e. 20 kVA modular systems) are being adopted alongside data center racks, which might support one or more racks depending on the IT load of the rack due to the increasing concerns over power fluctuations and outages.

Another trend in the market is use of lithium-ion UPS systems. Today, lead-acid batteries are the most preferred batteries for UPS systems in data centers for providing backup power during outages. The maintenance of lead-acid batteries is considered to be a major challenge for data center operators in recent times because of the requirement of regular monitoring and replacement.

Technavio: Global Data Center UPS Market 2017-2021

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Recommended Reading: Top Considerations for Addressing Data Center Facilities Management Risks

Stephen Burgess, a consultant with Uptime Institute Professional Services Uptime Institute, has created the “Top Considerations for Addressing Data Center Facilities Management Risks” guide to help world-class IT organizations better understand and address the risks associated with data center facilities management in today’s high stakes technology landscape.

This publication containing 14 top considerations around designing and running an enterprise-grade data center facilities management program is available for download.

It discusses the topics:

  • Monitoring and Managing Staff Overtime
  • Managing a Critical Spares Inventory
  • essential for mission critical facilities such as data centers.
  • Maintaining a Reliable Diesel Fuel Supply
  • Developing Emergency Operating Procedures (EOPs)
  • Regular Execution of Site Drills
  • Executing Against a Procedure-Based Control Methodology
  • Establishing a NFPA 70E Compliant Safety Program
  • Completing Short-Circuit Coordination Studies & Arc Flash Assessments
  • Implementing Battery Monitoring Systems
  • Preparing a Formalized Training Curriculum
  • Invoking Maintenance Program Best Practices
  • Enforcing Access Control & Vendor Supervision
  • Performing Regular Integrated and Key Systems Testing & Validation
  • Building & Integrating Robust Change Management Protocols

The guide is available for download here.

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