2014 marks a significant birthday for KOHLER Uninterruptible Power. It is 15-years since we launched the PowerWave range, which was the first 3-Phase transformerless UPS technology introduced to the UK & Ireland. So how has this uninterruptible power supply innovation fared since then?
The boasts of using 3-Phase transformerless UPS systems were focussed on significant improvements in efficiency and related energy/carbon footprint savings, reduced cooling requirements and a much smaller UPS power supply physical footprint with a higher power density.
The first PowerWave transformerless UPS system certainly lived up to the boast with a 4%-5% efficiency improvement, compared to its competitors. However, the power rating of the uninterruptible power supply was a pretty small 5kVA, so it could be argued that energy savings could be counted in pennies rather than pounds – but they were energy cost savings nonetheless.
The power rating of the PowerWave transformerless systems quickly grew, with up to a 100kVA uninterruptible power supply being available a couple of years after the initial launch. Still with a 4%-5% efficiency improvement compared to transformer-based UPS power supplies. Typical energy cost savings of £3,000 per annum for a 100kVA unit operating at a 75% load could then be achieved. With typical uninterruptible power supplies having a working life-span of over 10-years, early adopters of 3-Phase transformerless UPS systems in the first few years of the millennium should now be counting their pounds with the energy cost savings they have accrued over the years.
A big growth driver for 3-Phase transformerless UPS systems has been the need for much higher kVA ratings to meet increasing power demands for larger & larger data centre operations. A 400kVA / 500kVA UPS power supply is used as a basic building block to meet the power needs of these data centre designs. With a typical power requirement of >3MVA, the energy savings of using a 3-Phase transformerless UPS systems are therefore very, very significant – >£100k1 over the typical life-cycle for every 1% gain in efficiency.
Further pressure to reduce carbon emissions has been added through Government legislation, and again the three-phase transformerless UPS technology meets the challenge through its higher efficiencies and related energy savings.
Going back to the first 5kVA transformerless systems we introduced in 1999. Again, it met its boast of a smaller footprint, lower weight and higher power density. But move forward 15-years with a 500kVA transformerless UPS power supply, the footprint and weight saving is again significant compared to its transformer-based uninterruptible power supply competitor – the PowerWave 6000 500kVA transformerless system offers a 24% space saving, weighs 47% less and provides a high power density of 335 kW/m2.
All these benefits can be supported by hard facts, shown through the adoption of three-phase transformerless UPS technology. The recently published 2014 World UPS Report, IMS Technology shows that sales of 3-Phase transformerless UPS systems caught up with 3-Phase transformer-based UPS power supplies sales around 2007, but since then have dramatically surged ahead. In 2013, there were over twice as many 3-Phase transformerless UPS systems sold and that ratio is set to grow further over the next five years to reach nearly 5:1 by 2018, which, in itself, is a particularly ringing endorsement of this modern technology.
The power protection innovation and benefits of 3-Phase transformerless UPS technology are well worth celebrating!
1 3MVA @ 50% Load / 96% Efficiency