Kokam Launches Li-Ion Battery For UPS

July 9, 2018 | BPO Products | Last week, Kokam Co. announced the launch of its K-UPS series of high power Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) battery racks. Featuring Kokam’s Ultra High Power Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (UHP NMC) battery technology, the new battery racks enable UPS system providers to meet growing data center demand for lithium-ion UPS systems that can deliver high power for a short period of time at a lower cost than UPS systems using lead-acid batteries.

Kokam sees a growing market for lithium-ion UPS systems. Developers and operators of data centers are increasingly installing backup generators to produce power during long power outages. These long-term backup generators decrease the need for UPS systems that can provide a high level of power for a long period of time, as these facilities now require high power for only a short period of time (less than 15 minutes), until the backup generators can come online. However, most UPS systems use lead-acid batteries, and lead-acid batteries’ low power discharge rates force data center developers and operators to purchase high capacity, long duration UPS systems to address their facilities’ short-term, high power needs. This is leading data center developers and operators to seek new, more affordable UPS systems that require fewer batteries than lead-acid UPS systems to deliver the same amount of power. In addition, lead-acid UPS systems have large footprints, are heavy, require high maintenance, need significant cooling and ventilation and have to be replaced every 3-5 years.

“Though the UPS market is still dominated by lead-acid batteries, rising data center interest in more affordable, compact, long-lasting, lightweight UPS systems is growing the market for high power UPS systems using lithium-ion batteries,” said Ike Hong, vice president of Kokam’s Power Solutions Division in a statement. “Our new K-UPS battery racks use our UHP NMC batteries to deliver UPS system providers the industry-leading power discharge rate they need to build high–power UPS systems with the price, size, footprint, weight, lifetime and other characteristics that data center developers and operators increasingly demand.”

The K-UPS battery rack uses Kokam’s industry-leading high performance lithium-ion UHP NMC batteries, which feature up to a 10 C-rate compared to a 2 C-rate for most lead-acid batteries or a 4 C-rate for most other lithium-ion batteries (C-rate measures the rate a battery charges or discharges relative to its maximum capacity). This high power output enables UPS system providers to use fewer batteries in a UHP NMC battery UPS system than lead-acid or other lithium-ion battery UPS systems, while delivering the same amount of power. For example, K-UPS battery racks can provide up to 500% more power at the same level of battery capacity as most lead-acid UPS systems, or up to 250% more power at the same level of battery capacity as most other lithium-ion UPS systems, the company says. By using fewer batteries in their UPS systems, UPS system providers can lower the overall cost of these systems for data center developers and operators, while still providing them with the high power, short duration performance they need.

Kokam lists several additional advantages of using K-UPS battery racks instead of UPS systems using lead-acid batteries, including:

Smaller System Footprints: Thanks to its higher power density, a three square foot UHP NMC battery can deliver the same amount of power as a 10 square foot lead-acid battery, reducing the amount of space data centers need for their UPS systems by 70% or more. Data centers can use this space for additional revenue generating equipment, helping them increase their revenues.

Lower Weight: With fewer batteries needed to deliver the same amount of power, UPS systems using K-UPS battery racks can be up to 5 times lighter than lead-acid UPS systems with similar power, reducing shipping costs. In addition, the lower weight of UPS systems using K-UPS battery racks provide data center developers and operators with additional flexibility – allowing them to install their UPS system on any floor of the data center without needing to make major modifications to the data center’s structure.

Longer Lives: UHP NMC batteries can last up to 15 years, compared to 3-5 years for lead-acid batteries, significantly reducing UPS Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Reduced Cooling and Ventilation Costs: Lead-acid batteries require a temperature range between 20℃ – 22.5℃ to operate reliably, while UHP NMC batteries can operate in temperatures ranging between 18℃ – 28℃, allowing data centers with UPS systems using K-UPS battery racks to reducing their cooling costs. In addition, unlike many lead-acid batteries, the UHP NMC batteries in K-UPS battery racks do not emit hydrogen, reducing data center costs related to ventilation.

K-UPS battery racks come in both 2 pole and 3 pole configurations at a variety of different voltage levels, providing design flexibility to UPS system providers. In addition, drawing on its 20 years of high-power battery technology experience, Kokam can offer UPS system providers customized K-UPS battery racks. Kokam has already delivered 23 MW of K-UPS battery racks to customers and is scheduled to deliver 50 MW of K-UPS battery racks this year to customers in Australia, Asia and Europe.