First place in the UPS category goes to ZincFive’s BC Series Battery Cabinets — the first Nickel-Zinc (Ni-Zn) battery energy storage system (BESS) with backward and forward compatibility and megawatt-class inverters.
The company innovated beyond the battery by designing the cabinets to be electrically compatible with lead-acid battery-based backup systems, thereby becoming a drop-in replacement for lead-acid battery cabinets. Users can retrofit the BC Series without modification to their existing UPS.
“Previously, BESS users have had to compromise in one or more areas of performance, safety, or the environment when choosing energy storage solutions,” said Tim Hysell, CEO of ZincFive. “The scope of the project with ZincFive BC Series Battery Cabinets has resulted in minimizing compromises in BESS while bringing a disruptive battery technology in a turnkey solution to a large global market.”
The batteries were tested at the cell level to UL 9540A, a test method for evaluating thermal runaway, and did not exhibit thermal runaway in any of the five arduous and destructive tests. Furthermore, independent third-party analysis of end-to-end environmental impact shows nickel-zinc batteries to have a climate impact score significantly superior to lead-acid and lithium battery chemistries.
“The nickel-zinc technology could displace market share for lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries and the power density is an attractive feature,” according to one of judges.
The power density of the nickel-zinc batteries used in the BC Series Battery Cabinets is well-suited to large-scale energy storage where delivering the smallest footprint per MW is important to the end user. High power density must be accompanied with safety in operation and ZincFive has developed a high-power density battery that does not exhibit thermal runaway at the cell level, based on the results of UL testing. This means the BESS design does not need to include additional safety mechanisms because the batteries are fundamentally safe. Next, the nickel-zinc battery can operate at higher temperatures than both lead-acid and lithium solutions providing a cooling cost savings. Reliability is key in mission critical applications and when a lead-acid or lithium-ion battery cell fails, it creates an open circuit that halts battery string operation. A weak or depleted NiZn cell, on the other hand, remains conductive, allowing the string to continue operating. This turns an emergency situation with other battery chemistries into a simple battery replacement at the next planned maintenance cycle with little cost and no operational impact.
“This capability of nickel-zinc batteries is a paradigm shift in battery string reliability and uptime,
Reliability is key in mission critical applications and when a lead-acid or lithium-ion battery cell fails, it creates an open circuit that halts battery string operation. A weak or depleted NiZn cell, on the other hand, remains conductive, allowing the string to continue operating. This turns an emergency situation with other battery chemistries into a simple battery replacement at the next planned maintenance cycle with little cost and no operational impact. In addition, NiZn battery strings tolerate string imbalances to a greater degree than either lead-acid or lithium-ion strings enabling users to add strings to existing systems or change out batteries over time, mixing older batteries with new ones, thereby lowering capex and maintenance costs.
“This product appears to offer significant advantages with footprint and reliability over lead acid and LION UPS battery solutions for new and retrofit applications,” said one of the judges. “In addition, the low environmental impact of the product may help end users meet sustainability goals and green initiatives.”
A transition from lead-acid to alternative battery chemistries is underway in the mission critical industry, and nickel-zinc offers a safe, reliable, and sustainable solution while delivering a low total cost of ownership.