Specialist power management company Powermode chief technology officer Philip Hampton says that companies often battle with the choice of generators or battery backups to support their power needs.
Both solutions provide electri- city when grid power is unavailable, but their methods are very different, says Hampton.
A generator or battery pack supported by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system, acts as a standby solution to power computers and lights when an electrical blackout occurs.
The biggest distinction between a generator and a battery pack UPS system is the location and storage of the energy.
“A generator’s energy is stored in the fuel. Like a car, the generator’s energy runs out when the fuel is used up,” he explains.
“A UPS system stores its energy in the batteries with which it is supplied. It converts the power in the battery bank from a 12-Vdc into a normal 220-Vac through an inverter.
“Until about a decade ago, inverters were viewed as ineffi- cient and unreliable. However, modern technological advances have placed the spotlight on inverters because they offer a number of practical benefits,” says Hampton.
He says modern solid-state inverters can start and run heavy-duty motors, such as those found in industrial washing machines, submersible pumps, table saws and air compressors.
A small inverter can also be used to run a load a long distance from the battery power source, such as lights at the perimeter of a large property, which saves costs from heavy dc wiring.
“Inverter-provided ac power is available 24 hours a day at the flick of a switch. There is no need to start up a generator or refill an empty tank with petrol or diesel,” says Hampton.
“An inverter operates small loads, such as computers and lights more efficiently than a generator, which does not make a significant distinction between light and heavy- duty loadings when it comes to fuel consumption,” he adds.
UPS systems and inverter systems work efficiently to provide continuous, uninter- rupted power in small to medium-size load applications from 1 kVA to 10 kVA.
However, he adds, that in larger applications, UPS and generator combinations are required as the battery packs, which are needed to service high-load demands, become prohibitively expensive.
Meanwhile, Powermode has launched the new Siel range of UPS systems, which are targeted at applications associated with essential services and mission- critical requirements in medium-size to large organisations.
A key feature of all Siel UPS systems is the use of online double conversion technology, in which the input ac main supply is converted to dc power for battery charging. The dc flow is then fed through an inverter to reconstruct a pure sinusoidal ac output.
The ac output is completely regenerated and, as a result, is free of any mains-borne interference, such as spikes and voltage variations that would damage sensitive computer and electronic systems.
The SafePower line, a line of UPS systems within the Siel range, includes units suitable for application in the military, telecommunications, banking, distribution, medical, security and government fields.
Hampton says that Siel UPS systems are targeted at markets in which continuous power is key to uptime and productivity.
The company is able to supply and implement fully integrated turnkey power management solu- tions, which include generator or alternative-energy sources designed to meet operational and commercial requirements.