New NFPA Battery Standard Could Impact Data Center UPS Designs

BY: RICH MILLER - 01 Apr 2019

PHOENIX, Ariz. – A new standard being developed by the National Fire Protection Association could have a big impact on the use of batteries in UPS systems, according to a group of  data center energy experts, who are seeking to mobilize the industry to seek revisions.

The new NFPA 855 standard was developed to provide safety guidance for the growing use of lithium-ion batteries in uninterruptible power supply systems (UPS) that provide emergency power in data centers and other mission- critical facilities.

NFPA 855 includes new design and testing protocols for lithium-ion UPS systems. But data center professionals say the standard has been broadened in ways that could alter current practices in deploying other types of data center UPS systems, and could potentially be applied to existing facilities.

“It’s a work in progress, but it’s impact would be profound,” said Ed Rafter, a Senior Associate at GBA (George Butler Associates), and former executive at The Uptime Institute. “The problem is that most folks in the data center industry are unfamiliar with NFPA 855.”

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