Keele University chooses Vertiv

Vertiv modular power system supports Keele’s ambitious decarbonisation strategy and complements its on-site renewable energy microgrid.

Vertiv has been selected by Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, to supply a highly energy-efficient uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system and battery back-up. The new solutions replace the ageing equipment in its data centres, and Vertiv expects it will play an important role in the University’s institution-wide decarbonisation strategy.

Keele University is a long-standing Vertiv customer, and the relationship was recognised by industry experts as part of the DCS Awards 2022, where the partnership was awarded Data Centre Sustainability Project of the Year. With this new agreement, Vertiv will replace the University’s ageing UPS with a new scalable, efficient and space-saving solution. Vertiv will also provide a modular battery solution to help keep power supplies stable during outages and out-of-spec power input, allowing efficient management of the renewable energy produced on site.

Over the last six years, Keele University has invested more than £1.2 million to reduce its carbon emissions and has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Besides hosting the first UK trial of hydrogen blending within a gas network and testing new smart energy technologies, the University is now producing its own renewable energy on site, thanks to solar and wind farms that feed power into a campus mini-grid. From a power distribution perspective, the campus operates like a small town. Keele University’s need was to minimise losses as energy is transferred from the grid to the UPS and on to the IT load, and to benefit from a new generation of batteries.

As part of a plan to modernise the University’s two data centres, the team at Keele will leverage the Vertiv™ Liebert® APM UPS with a 400 kVA capacity in a N+1 configuration. The new UPS provides reliable, double-conversion power topology that uses an innovative transformer-free design, resulting in energy efficiencies of 96% that can be enhanced to 99% using ECO Mode operation. Importantly, the new UPS delivers more capacity in a smaller footprint, and each of the new units utilises a modular and scalable configuration with ancillary cabinets designed to save space and cost over previous configurations.

Vertiv will also replace a bank of ageing, open-air lead-acid batteries with modern, rack-based, self-contained battery cabinets. The new battery modules may be added or replaced with no interruption or risk to the connected equipment, when the UPS is not operating on the battery. Each battery module has monitoring and controls that isolate it in the event of a battery failure. The battery strings are connected in parallel to provide backup time and/or redundancy.

Alex Goffe, associate director of operations & infrastructure at Keele University commented: “It’s no exaggeration to say that our partnership with Vertiv is mission-critical for the University. Sustainability is embedded in everything we do at Keele, and the new UPS and battery modules will play a crucial role in helping meet our energy-saving ambitions. They will also help to enable business continuity across the institution.

“The scalable nature of the new UPS provides us with a high degree of flexibility. If there is a need to grow in the future, we can add power modules into the frame to extend the power capacity of the system.”

Alex Brew, country manager for Vertiv in the UK & Ireland, commented: "By harnessing our digital infrastructure solutions, Keele University can continue to be ahead of the game when it comes to energy efficiency. Keele is already a valued Vertiv customer, and we're delighted to be helping the institution as it continues on its journey to realise its ambitious data centre plans and institution-wide decarbonisation strategy."

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