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SuperCaps and How They Help UPS Solutions

Published by Lee Kelly on 30 August 2019

SuperCaps UPS, which are manufactured by Riello UPS and Eaton, offer complete protection for power supplies for mission-critical and sensitive loads. By providing the energy needed to compensate for mains supply interruptions, they prevent mains disturbances that can sometimes occur. This type of uninterruptable power supply uses supercapacitors to collect energy and is used in place of conventional batteries.

Critical Power Supplies - Riello UPS supercaps inside a SEP and MST

The backup time of SuperCaps will vary depending on the load, but will supply it until the reserve generator starts or the mains power is restored. A sophisticated control system is at the core of SuperCaps, managing the charge/discharge cycle while optimising the lifecycle, which can surpass one million cycles.

SuperCaps UPS work best for critical installations that may not hold up should a short power interruption occur, lasting from a few cycles to over a minute. UPS has traditionally relied on batteries to accumulate the energy needed, but at least 87% of interruptions only last for under a second. SuperCaps provide efficient energy, are cost-effective and reduce system footprints by ¼ when compared to conventional UPS systems. Most standard UPS units include batteries that last five to ten minutes to protect the load should the generator fail to start up.

Modern data centres, along with electro-medical and industrial applications, aren’t able to use conventional batteries. This is because they provide insufficient runtime when attempting to resolve common generator startup failure issues. These include battery failure and fuel blockage. Often, data centres require anywhere between three and six hours to either shut down or transfer operations to a mirroring site. Electro-medical equipment requires an energy source that is dependable and secure, so that life-saving services can be carried out successfully. Uninterrupted power is required for automated manufacturing services to ensure equipment failures do not occur.

Because all three types are critical, an efficient power continuity solution is needed. This is typically provided in the form of a generator set that is supported by a UPS with a short-term self-sufficient.

Economic Advantages

SuperCaps are very economical options that provide several important advantages. They are ecological because they do not need to be replaced as frequently as traditional lead acid batteries. Because they do not contain batteries, the UPS will be lighter overall, making shipping and transport easier when relevant. The lack of batteries also means no battery installation, much less monitoring, easy maintenance and lower replacement costs. They are also less expensive to recycle.

Standard batteries generally have a lifecycle of five to seven years. Conversely, the lifespan of SuperCaps UPS is infinite, in theory, while providing less impact per size/kVA.

SuperCaps also possess high cycling efficiency due to their very low internal resistance.

SuperCaps Configuration

A SuperCaps UPS system is generally configured using supercapacitors found within the UPS cabinet, replacing a traditional battery. They can also be placed in an external cabinet connected to the UPS.

SuperCaps are also known for being resistant to high temperature. Because of this, they are generally suited for installation in particularly hot and cold environments without needing air conditioning to keep them cool.

Most of the time, the electronics contained within the UPS are able to work in temperatures of 35 to 40 degrees Celsius without experiencing degradation in terms of performance. When lead acid batteries are used, this range is reduced to between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Critical Power Supplies - Eaton supercaps that are rack mountable

Supercapacitors are not as sensitive as batteries to ambient temperature, which allows the UPS to operate in more severe environments. This can also decrease the cooling threshold while they are in racks, server rooms and data centres.

SuperCaps will long outlive a battery, which must typically be replaced during years three to four for a five-year battery, and seven to eight on a ten-year battery. They also recharge almost instantaneously, especially when compared to the time it can take to recharge a traditional battery using an external charger or UPSrectifier.

SuperCaps have a predicted million-lifecycles span, providing a much lower total cost of ownership. They will also have a much safer impact on the environment than traditional uninterruptable power supplies.

Who Should Use SuperCaps?

SuperCaps are recommended for use in a variety of industries including: IT businesses, data centres, transportation companies, the electro-medical industry and for industrial applications. They are used to handle generator startups and ride through short breaks when the main power goes down.

Once the generator is able to start, it will provide the runtime needed for a longer period until the power is restored.

SuperCap Installation

Typically, SuperCap systems are available as special builds ranging from 1kVA to 200kVA. Larger sizes may be available depending on the particular UPS manufacturer. Because these are products that are built to serve a particular purpose, delivery times can range anywhere from four weeks or more.

No special requirements exist concerning electrical installation. UPS maintenance plans should be developed to replace what would be a traditional battery inspection with an in-depth look at the supercapacitors instead. Installation options may vary depending on specific needs and location.

Replacing Your Batteries with SuperCaps

If you’re tired of replacing the lead acid batteries in your UPS, consider using SuperCaps instead. They’ll save you a lot of money in the long run while ensuring you’ll never be completely without power. This is especially important in situations where a lack of electricity could result in the loss of crucial data. Other industries that could benefit include the electro-medical field, where electricity failure could result in an ability to administer essential care.

Because SuperCaps require less maintenance than traditional batteries, you can install them and feel secure in the knowledge they won’t need to be replaced so soon. In fact, the SuperCaps can actually outlive your UPS.

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing solution that will give you some much-needed peace of mind, particularly when critical situations occur, consider installing SuperCaps. This essential solution can help to streamline your business processes through a lack of interruption and technical superiority. As an added advantage, you won’t need to keep checking them periodically and planning for replacements.

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