Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) are essential for providing reliable and clean power to critical equipment, from medical facilities to industrial processing systems. The origins of UPSs are somewhat mysterious, but Eaton has been manufacturing them in Finland since 1962 and has since created over 200 patented innovations related to backup power and power conversion technology.
A UPS is a power electronic device that uses a battery to back up and clean up power supply, making it crucial in ensuring business continuity. It protects equipment during short blackouts and allows for graceful shutdowns during longer power outages. Moreover, it safeguards equipment from poor quality power by smoothing the voltage provided by the grid.
Recent advances in UPS technology have led to more efficient, smaller, and transformerless designs that require less raw material. Modular set-ups are now possible, offering easy scalability and maintenance, and the latest UPSs provide greater reliability, availability, and resilience at a lower cost. Lithium-ion batteries are complementing lead-acid batteries, while supercapacitors are enabling entirely new features.
The latest generation of UPSs, such as Eaton's Energy Aware system, can handle bidirectional energy flows and feed excess energy back to the grid, supporting the expansion of renewables and grid stabilization. In the future, the focus will shift towards the sustainability of the manufacturer's processes, and attention will be paid to other aspects such as the power source of backup generators, which is still frequently diesel fuel or gas.
While UPSs can perform multiple services for the grid, their primary purpose is to deliver clean, uninterrupted power to critical equipment. Nonetheless, UPSs can act as an essential building block in the transition towards net-zero, making them a crucial piece of technology for businesses and industries worldwide.
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