Data Center

eConversion: Driving Sustainability in Mission-Critical Environments

Schneider Electric 3-phase Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) products are critical infrastructure equipment, essential for mission-critical applications such as data centers, healthcare, precision, and continuous manufacturing applications, ranging from 5 kVA to Megawatts of power capacity.

The primary role of a 3-phase UPS in critical applications is to provide stable power quality to the equipment and deliver backup power in case of a power disruption. However, while providing a reliable source of power, increasing quality and stability of the power, the equipment consumes significant energy during power conversion. The equipment is online 365 days/24 hrs so energy losses are continuous during the operation.

The Double Conversion mode has been known for over 20 years as the ‘normal’ protection for 3- phase UPS with an average efficiency around 96%. Although the efficiency number looks high, it also means that 4% of the total electricity is lost in thermal dissipation just for the UPS to run.

Schneider Electric is committed to providing the best technologies and solutions for its customers to reach maximum energy efficiency in their operations. For this reason, Schneider Electric has been investing in research and development to create world’s highest efficiency UPS’s that won’t trade off with power quality.

Thanks to its patented eConversion mode, the electricity wasted as heat during the operation of a UPS can be reduced dramatically, enabling customers to save money and reduce their CO2 emissions. Helping the world be a better place while saving money is a great motivator.

How do we do that?

eConversion is a patented mode for 3-phase UPS that provides zero transfer time between the different operation modes while delivering up to 99% efficiency. This architecture dynamically monitors the quality of the power supplied from the grid.

If the power quality is sufficient, it is directly used to power the load (through the static switch), but the inverter is kept operating in parallel providing batteries recharge, power factor correction, and harmonics compensation, as detailed in the Application note.

If the quality of the grid is insufficient, the UPS automatically activates Double Conversion mode with no break, and once conditions are favorable goes back to eConversion. Similarly, in case of an event on the grid (e.g., outage, short circuit), the UPS transfers to battery operation without any interruption: zero break transfer.

Schneider Electric’s patented and UL certified technology enables us to offer IEC 62040-3 Class 1 protection level (the maximum category), proving the same performance as Double Conversion.

Double Conversion vs. eConversion

This technology resembles what the automobile industry has with start-stop technology. The automobile industry achieved a significant CO2 reduction without compromising safety and comfort with the clever design of their cars operation. Start-stop enables the engine to stop when car is idle and activate again instantly during the red light or high traffic.

Let’s put this into pictures: How much really is a 2-3% efficiency improvement?

It is very significant given that these systems run 24/365. Let’s look at this comparison using our Galaxy VL 500 kW as an example.

eConversion-carbon footprint reduction Galaxy VL

By operating in eConversion, a data center or manufacturing plant can save annually as much electricity as the production from 30 solar rooftops (capacity 3kWc each). That’s also the amount of electricity needed to charge 50 electric cars every year (using a Tesla model 3 as a representative).

The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) improvement is also very significant as illustrated in this example coming from the eConversion Savings Calculator Tool. Here the annual electricity savings are 13.5k€; within 10 years the total savings pays off about 3 times the UPS investment.

TCO eConversion calculator tool diagram

(Using 0.09 €/kwh, 500 kW load, 96% efficient UPS as comparison to Galaxy VL in eConversion mode.)

 

While saving money, customers save on CO2 emissions significantly as well:

CO2 reduction eConversion Tool diagram

Conclusion

There are multiple ways to prove that the best decision a company can make is to invest in energy efficient technologies and solutions. Schneider Electric’s patented eConversion mode is a unique combination of maximum protection and highest efficiency. When they start using it, our customers have confirmed that they dramatically shorten their return on investment, lower total cost of ownership, and immediately reduce their carbon footprint. Go to our eConversion Web page to learn more.


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