Advantages of Optional Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries in Nova UPS Systems

Unless otherwise noted, Nova Electric UPSs utilize sealed, maintenance-free lead acid batteries. For many years, these batteries have offered the only field proven, safe, and readily available technology suitable for the harsh environments our products are routinely exposed to. Such batteries are offered in both standard and premium versions, the latter featuring extended operation / storage temperature ranges, longer expected life, and increased resistance to high shock and vibration.

However, with the advent of exciting new battery technologies in recent times, Nova Electric is now offering Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries optionally on select models, bearing the “LiFe” suffix on the model designations. After thousands of hours of research and development, as well as extensive field trials, our customers can now benefit from a battery that combines the safety of traditional sealed lead-acid technology with the power of Lithium Iron.

Typical 1-5U LiFePO4 Retractable Battery Drawers Used In Nova Electric's Rugged Rack Mount UPS Systems

Some advantages of the Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are listed below for reference:

  • 4X higher energy density than lead-acid battery: The gravimetric energy density of the LiFePO4 battery is ~130 Wh/kg, almost four times higher than that of a typical Lead-acid battery, at 35Wh/kg. For the UPS user, this means far greater run times while running on battery, without any space penalty.
  • Light Weight: Despite the vastly higher energy density, the LiFePO4 battery packs are, in most cases, only 1/3 the weight of conventional lead acid packs. So for applications where weight savings are critical, the use of LiFePO4 batteries can result in significant reductions in overall system weight.
  • Long Life: LiFePO4 battery packs typically achieve a minimum of 2000 cycles with 70% capacity remaining, with up to 5000 cycle potential. This is equivalent to the 8-12 year expected life the very best sealed, lead acid batteries offer. Further, LiFePO4 batteries do not suffer from the “memory effect” of some conventional lead acid batteries.
  • Better Voltage Regulation: Unlike the Lead acid battery, the LiFePO4 battery terminal voltage remains relatively constant during high rate discharge. This equates to much better performance during high rate (short time period) discharges, yielding a much better AH performance during this type of application, typical in UPS systems.
  • Wide Temp Range: LiFePO4 battery packs are typically sold for operation between -20°C to +60°C, charging between -10°C to +60°C, and storage between -40°C to +60°C. This is equivalent to the ranges that only premium sealed, lead acid batteries offer.
  • Safety with power: LiFePO4 batteries are the safest type of Lithium batteries as they will not overheat, and even if punctured they will not catch on fire. The cathode material in LiFePO4 batteries is not hazardous, and so poses no negative health hazards or environmental hazards. Due to the oxygen being bonded tightly to the molecule, there is no danger of the battery erupting into flames, as with Lithium-Ion batteries. In fact, safety is equivalent to or better than the traditional lead acid batteries. The LiFePO4 battery is essentially a hybrid, combining the safety of lead-acid designs with the capacity of lithium ion designs.
  • A Greener Battery: The eco-friendly LiFePO4 battery packs are recyclable and non-toxic.
  • Battery Management: All LiFePO4 Batteries are provided with a Battery Management System (BMS) which protects the battery cells within the Nova LiFePO4 Battery pack. The BMS will protect the cells to be sure they do not go outside of the normal limits of Cell voltage of the minimum discharge voltage of 2.8 V, the working voltage of 3.0 V – 3.3 V, and the maximum charge voltage of 3.6 V. The BMS also provides short circuit protection which prevents high current in the event of an external short circuit.

Clearly, for many UPS applications which call for the often mutually exclusive goals of lighter weight and increased battery run time, LiFePO4 batteries present a viable and safe solution. Please consult with your Nova Electric salesperson for more details.