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Importance of Replacing & Correctly Disposing of your Data Centre VRLA Battery

2nd, March 2020

Most data centres use UPS systems complete with VRLA batteries, which is a reliable and cost-effective energy resource. Depending on your data centre temperature and heat distribution, it will determine how long your UPS battery will last. The current average is around 5 -6 years, however if your centre is not adequately cooled, this could dramatically reduce the longevity of your UPS. It is therefore imperative that UPS systems are both installed and positioned correctly, and adequately maintained, to keep them in a suitable condition to support your data centre should any power issues arise.

Data centre owners could also face stiff penalties if batteries are not correctly disposed of. The good news is that nearly all lead-acid batteries can be recycled. The plastic used from battery cases and covers are used to make new battery cases. The lead and lead oxide are used to manufacture new battery grids, parts and lead oxide. Sodium sulphate crystals, which are separated using electrolytes, are recycled and then sold to use in detergent manufacturing. Sometimes, used electrolytes are reclaimed and reused in manufacturing new batteries.

In fact, lead acid batteries are one of the most highly recycled products, partly due to the enforcement of strict guidelines and regulations. This means that when the batteries in your UPS system are replaced, you are not only ensuring the continuity of you data centres’ maintenance and effectiveness, but also contributing towards the reduction of environmental impact, due to the recycling of the old batteries and components.

Data centre owners should always avoid disposing of batteries themselves and favour a reputable battery disposal partner instead. This way you can avoid incurring hefty fines and ensure that your centre is complying with environmental regulations.

What happens when a battery reaches end of life? In most cases your maintenance service team should routinely replace your UPS batteries every five years, so long as they have reached end of life without incident, when in which case they would need replacing beforehand. According to European regulations, an intact spent battery is considered hazardous waste and must be treated as such.

Your service engineer should take your spent UPS batteries to a specialist recycling centre, ensuring the hazardous waste is transported safely. The specialist recycling company will strip the batteries into their bare components for recycling, reuse and disposal. Each battery is recorded on a Waste Transfer Note and your maintenance contractor should provide you with a certificate as proof of proper disposal of the battery.

Here at Workspace Technology we can offer all these services, from regular maintenance to the efficient and effective removal and replacement of degraded batteries, to ensure that your UPS system is operating at the highest efficiency level possible. A UPS system is critical kit for a data centre, and as a result, it requires critical and professional care to maintain.

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