The Other UPS

Eaton, Fortum team up for Uninterruptible Power Supply solutions

Eaton, the power management company with operational headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio, is releasing a reserve power supply innovation in conjunction with European energy provider Fortum.

UPS—Uninterruptible Power Supply, not United Parcel Service—is centered around electrical apparatus that provides alternate, emergency power to a load upon input, or main power source, failure. Advocates of UPS contend that it differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in its nearly instantaneous protection from input power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries, supercapacitors, or flywheels. UPS reserve methods are commonly found in data storage, via functions like ‘standby’ mode. Watch an explanation below.

The service provided by Eaton, according to a press release sent to EA Thursday, will be called UPS-as-a-Reserve (UPSaaR). The company claims it is the first of its kind in the data center industry. It was launched with the idea of supporting variable forms of sustainable energy supply, such as data centers that are partially powered by renewable energy. Many technology companies, such as those based in Silicon Valley in the U.S., are prospective candidates, as they tend to lean towards powering their data centers with cleaner energy. Within this realm fall burgeoning IoT solutions companies or cloud service providers. Eaton says its UPS product will enable data center operators to immediately respond to grid-level power demands to keep frequencies within allowed boundaries, thereby avoiding grid-wide power outages. It is being launched across European markets in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Eaton has developed the service in close collaboration with Fortum, a leading energy provider in the Nordic and Baltic countries. As the energy market (especially in Europe, while the United States remains unpredictable but still a place with incentives for large investments) moves from fuel-based towards renewable energy, production itself is being increasingly critiqued for its imbalance and lack of consistency. Eaton expects data centers, some of the world’s fastest growing energy consumers, to continue to play a significant role in this market.

Local note: In terms of direct U.S. installments (not just prospective ones) Eaton also announced last week that its LED sports lighting and controls system has been installed at the United Center, home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. The system features complex control functions, and could “enhance the viewing experience for spectators,” while reducing energy use by as much as 75 percent, Eaton said in a press release September 26

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