The effect of various buffer battery maintenance regimes on the state of health of VRLA batteries

Piotr Andrzej Ryś, Jacek Lipkowski, Maciej Siekierski, Piotr Biczel

Abstract


Modern society relies on the constant flow of quality electricity. Various safety measures in the form of uninterruptible power
supplies (UPS) combined with diesel generation systems are used to ensure permanent power delivery to strategic services
during a power outage. Batteries UPS systems are held in buffer mode to avoid the self discharge process progressing. The
impact of various buffer battery maintenance regimes is an important factor in ensuring the reliability of UPS systems. A
series of tests on five battery pairs were performed to estimate the impact of five different buffer regimes on the batteries’
state of health. The tests were carried out in the span of one year, at heightened temperature to accelerate the negative
impact of the said regimes on the batteries’ state of health. The test results showed that, contrary to widely-accepted belief,
rippling of the buffer charging current does not have a significant negative impact on battery health. A comparison did indeed
show that rippled charging current delivered lower total capacity loss than unrippled current. Then desulfation was applied
to the batteries after testing to estimate the amount of capacity that was lost due to sulfation. It determined that rippling
promotes more irreversible capacity loss (not caused by sulfation) than unrippled current with the same average voltage. The
insights gained from these tests could inform attempts by industry to slow down the deterioration of lead-acid batteries in UPS
applications.


Keywords


Batteries; Lead-Acid; VRLA; State of Health; Buffering charge; Desulphation

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