The BC 2: Innovative Cabinet Design Meets Unrivaled Battery Performance

The Article discusses the BC 2 UPS battery cabinet designed by ZincFive for data center operators. It emphasizes the cabinet's reliability, power density, sustainability compared to lead-acid and lithium alternatives, and its compact design. The BC 2 boasts a 20% smaller footprint than its predecessor, aiding in saving valuable space in data centers, and facilitating easier shipping, installation, and maintenance​1​.
Published on

February 10, 2023


Data center operators shouldn’t have to choose between having a reliable backup system, saving space on equipment footprint, or attracting ESG-focused clients with sustainable solutions. So we designed UPS battery cabinets with all these qualities. They’re more reliable, power-dense, and sustainable than their lead-acid and lithium counterparts. They also boast the smallest footprint in the industry. The latest generation of BC Series UPS Battery Cabinets, the BC 2, puts all of these benefits into an even smaller package.

What’s new? The BC 2’s optimized design offers a 20% smaller footprint than ZincFive’s original BC battery cabinet, which already led the industry with the smallest footprint per kilowatt and fewest cabinets per megawatt. This not only saves valuable space in the data center for revenue-generating equipment, but also provides even easier shipping, installation, and maintenance.  

What’s the same? Within that optimized package live the same nickel-zinc batteries that for the last ten years have delivered best-in-class reliability, power density, safety, and sustainability. It also continues to be paired with an intelligent BMS system which allows for passive operation and no runtime interruptions.

Let’s take a look at what the BC 2 Cabinet has to offer: the best is now even better.  

Packing Power into the Smallest Footprint in the Industry

In data centers, space is money. The smaller a UPS battery’s footprint, the more white space it frees up for the data center’s profit-making IT equipment, such as servers. And since UPS batteries are arranged in rows, the battery cabinet’s width measurement matters most: narrow battery systems can pack more power capacity into the same row.  

The original BC battery cabinet already held the industry record for delivering the same amount of power as much larger lithium and lead-acid batteries, in the smallest package available. The BC 2 improves further on this: it’s the same powerful battery, but in a cabinet narrowed 20% from a 27” width to 21”.  

This battery cabinet delivers as much power as lead-acid battery cabinets twice its size. Lead-acid batteries need 240” width, and lithium batteries need 153.5” width, to deliver 1250 kW of power. In contrast, BC 2 cabinets can deliver the same amount with only 84” of linear width.

Compared to the space lead-acid and lithium batteries take up in a data center, the BC 2’s tiny footprint gives operators multiple options. They can use the extra space to generate more profit by installing more servers and other IT equipment. Or, especially in urban areas with expensive real estate, they can save money by developing a smaller data center footprint in the first place. These cabinets are also well-suited to modular data centers, since operators can use shorter containers for them.

ZincFive batteries aren’t just smaller than their counterparts; they’re also much lighter and more easily shipped. The BC 2 cabinet, which includes both the battery and the BMS system, weighs just one third of a lead-acid system with the same power capacity. It’s much easier to transport, especially since the package ships fully complete and assembled. This reduces onsite installation time and potential for human error.

In the BC 2 cabinet, data center operators get the same power supply as much larger batteries – but with all the added spatial, financial, and shipping benefits that come with the smallest and lightest package in the UPS battery industry.  

Most Reliable, Durable Backup Battery for Data Centers

Like the original BC Cabinet, the BC 2 contains the most reliable backup batteries in the data center industry. This reliability stems from several characteristics of nickel-zinc batteries not shared by their lead-acid or lithium counterparts: the ability to pass current through depleted cells, higher current tolerance, and greater temperature range

Each battery string supporting UPS applications contains hundreds of individual cells arranged in series. For example, typical lithium batteries each contain 136 cells per string, and valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries 240 cells per string. If just one cell in either chemistry’s battery string fails, it can become a high impedance or an open circuit, which prevents the lithium or VRLA battery string from discharging power. One failed cell can result in the data center losing a critical load. Such an event can mean expensive emergency maintenance visits, or more frequent preventative maintenance visits to ensure all failed cells or batteries are replaced immediately.

In contrast, even a weak or depleted ZincFive NiZn cell can still pass current through its string safely. This keeps the battery string functional and avoids the need for an emergency maintenance call. Instead, one can simply replace the battery at the next routine maintenance check.  

In addition, nickel-zinc batteries can operate at higher temperatures than most lithium or lead-acid batteries. While most lead-acid batteries require temperatures under 77°F (25°C) and lithium batteries under 86°F (30°C), nickel-zinc batteries can operate at ambient temperatures up to 95°F (35°C) and remain under warranty.  Importantly, ZincFive nickel-zinc batteries have warranty terms that allow for temperature excursions of up to 122°F (50°C) for up to 5% of their operating life without violating the warranty. As data centers consider raising operating temperatures to ease cooling costs and increase sustainability, UPS systems with ZincFive NiZn batteries will provide higher reliability at lower costs.  

A bonus for those in earthquake-prone areas: the BC 2 cabinet is seismic-rated with a robust seismic-tested design that makes it resistant to even severe earthquakes, boosting its reliability even further. A wide operating temperature range, coupled with inherent reliability at the cell level, makes nickel-zinc batteries like those in the BC2 Cabinet some of the most reliable in the industry.  

Attract Climate-Conscious Customers with Reduced Emissions  

The growing urgency around climate change and pressure from stakeholders, policymakers, and the public has made sustainability a factor for data center customers as they choose their providers. Data center operators who can prove sustainability within their operations have an edge in attracting these customers – and nickel-zinc batteries’ low climate impact helps provide that edge.

ZincFive’s nickel-zinc batteries have gone through a third-party climate impact analysis and show a significantly lower lifetime climate impact than that of lead-acid and lithium batteries. Their lifetime emissions are only a sixth of lithium batteries’ lifetime emissions, and only a quarter of lead acid batteries’. Sustainable production processes give them a carbon payback time – the time required for emissions savings from the product’s use to offset the GHG of its production – four times faster than that of lithium and lead-acid batteries.  

The findings of this research allow data center customers to include often-elusive Scope 3 emissions reduction in their ESG reporting. By choosing the BC 2 battery cabinets, data center operators can gain a competitive advantage by showcasing their and their customers’ commitment to sustainability.

BC 2: The Complete Package

Our engineers designed the BC 2 cabinet to suit the needs of data center operators without compromising on any features. With the smallest footprint in the industry, the BC 2 offers data centers the ability to maximize their white space and allocate it to more revenue-generating activities. It contains the most reliable UPS backup chemistry available to ensure that critical loads are protected at all times, in any situation. Nickel-zinc’s sustainability advantages paired with minimal maintenance requirements make the BC 2 an attractive choice for data center operators who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and simplify their operations. Building on the success of the original BC, the BC 2 sets a new bar for the industry for years to come: delivering power whenever you need it, without compromise.

Weekly newsletter

Sign up for the latest article news

Subscribed successfully
Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again.

Latest Resource posts

Get started with
Gridshield CSI INC

Unlock the future of power solutions with Gridshield CSI INC. Don't wait – explore our cutting-edge products and services today and elevate your operations to the next level!