Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) provides backup power in the event that your grid power supply fails. UPS vary significantly in size and function. Very small systems, such as those used to protect a single computer or piece of equipment, allow for them to be shut down safely in the event of a power disruption, preventing important data being lost or damage to equipment.
Larger UPS backup are critical across a range of sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, defence, and data centres. In the event of a power disruption, UPS allows critical systems to continue to function. This is particularly important on sites such as hospitals, where intensive care units and operating theatres will be protected by UPS to ensure they continue to function.
While UPS generally protects equipment or critical functions during brief power disruption, it is also vital when it comes to longer disruption, for example a blackout that lasts an hour or more. In these situations, the ability for a UPS to kick in instantaneously keeps key equipment operating normally to give backup generation or CHP to begin operating and providing alternative power.
Traditional UPS generally uses lead acid battery technology. While this equipment is superb in terms of its ability to immediately kick in before any changes in supply or voltage disrupt sensitive equipment, it is not without its drawbacks. UPS is effectively a sunk cost, operating only during a power disruption event, which thankfully in the UK is relatively rare. When not operating, UPS continues to contribute to energy bills and potentially carbon emissions as it needs to partially discharge and recharge in order to monitor incoming power from the grid.