Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are compact, efficient and have superior battery life over other forms of batteries. With most healthcare applications critically dependent on reliable backup power, there has been a shift to lithium-ion based UPS batteries for this sector. Here’s a look at why this is the case.
What is a UPS?
A UPS – or uninterruptible power supply – is a type of battery backup which provides power to critical devices when your regular power source fails, or your voltage drops. It provides sufficient time and power for your computer and connected equipment to shut down so that no valuable data is lost, or equipment impaired.
What is a lithium-ion battery for UPS?
UPS devices rely on battery power for functionality. There are many UPS battery types, but the most commonly used was the VRLA (valve-regulated) battery, also known as the sealed lead-acid (SLA) battery which had a 5 to 10-year lifespan. However, this is fast being overtaken by the inherently superior lithium-ion (or Li-ion) batteries which have several advantages over traditional lead acid batteries for UPS. One of the biggest drawbacks initially was the cost, however, since 2010 the cost of lithium-ion batteries for UPS applications have dropped by more than 70 percent.
Benefits of lithium-ion for UPS
1. More compact UPS batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are much lighter and smaller than the VRLA counterparts, weighing a significant 60 to 80 percent less as well as being half the size. This is incredibly beneficial for all industries but for healthcare premises, in particular, where space is at a premium, as these batteries don’t require structural reinforcement or quite as much space. In fact, lithium-ion battery storage is usually a third the spatial requirement of VRLA batteries.
2. Better lifespan
As mentioned earlier, VRLA batteries have a lifespan of around five to 10 years and must, therefore, be changed somewhere between two and three times within the UPS lifespan. However, the lithium-ion batteries will generally exceed 10 years – often up to 15 years. This means budget that would usually be allocated to UPS battery upgrades can be redirected to more pressing healthcare matters.
3. No ventilation needs
One of the biggest issues with VRLA batteries is the emission of hydrogen which requires adequate ventilation, often necessitating a completely separate storage facility just for these UPS batteries. Because the lithium-ion batteries don’t require such ventilation, they are both more hygienic for healthcare operations while, once again, not requiring significant space.
4. Improved safety
With health and safety major contributors to any healthcare decision, it’s worth noting that lithium-ion UPS batteries are significantly safer electrical systems. They have great thermal stability and are more tolerant to full charge conditions and higher voltage, even for a prolonged period. Lithium ion is also able to operate at a wider range of temperatures, making it more temperature tolerant.
5. Longer recharge cycles
Lithium-ion UPS batteries are able to perform more than 1000 battery charges and discharges, meaning they have a much longer shelf life than competitor batteries. This also translates to less frequent maintenance requirements.
What is the value of lithium-ion UPS for the healthcare industry?
We’ve touched on some of the ways the enhanced performance of lithium-ion batteries benefits the healthcare industry, but here’s a look at how lithium-ion-powered UPS devices are becoming critical to modern healthcare.
– Protects sensitive applications
Within any healthcare facility, there are a variety of applications requiring critical power systems, and the uninterrupted effectiveness of these applications can literally be the difference between life and death. These include intensive care units, ventilators, diagnostic systems, medical imaging, ultrasounds, emergency lighting, and data centres. With ongoing load shedding, coupled with aging infrastructure in many hospital buildings, the reliability of lithium-ion UPS systems is vital.
– Cold storage
The current rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has put pressure on medical facilities in terms of cold storage. Medicines and vaccines stored in laboratory freezers have a lower tolerance to temperature fluctuation and some forms of the Covid-19 vaccine must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is affected, the vaccine deteriorates and denatures which is why a lithium-ion powered UPS is important for safe, uninterrupted storage.
The changing climate has resulted in an increase in natural disasters, such as Cyclone Eloise that recently wreaked havoc on the east African coastline. This has seen healthcare facilities becoming much more reliant on energy storage systems (ESS) which is a complete backup power for facilities in the case of a power outage. Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight and much more mobile which makes them a great solution for ESS.
– Critical data
Data centres within healthcare organisations store critical data such as patient and medical records, all of which are reliant on fully functional servers and routers. A lithium-ion UPS has the ability to provide dependable energy in the case of a power outage.
The past year has shown the crucial need for well-equipped medical facilities, particularly in light of ongoing power cuts, external environmental factors and an unprecedented pandemic. Backup power is critical but more than this, healthcare facilities need backup power that is reliable. That’s why the top-performing lithium-ion UPS system is the first choice for the healthcare industry.
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