Last summer, ABB and Emerson had a bidding battle when both tried to buy the Chloride Group, based in the UK. The company has now become part of Emerson Network Power. Chloride supplies uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems to major market sectors such as IT services (data centers), finance houses, telecommunications systems providers, as well as energy/oil and gas, transport and retail operations.
Chloride recently launched an enhanced version of its Chloride 80-NET UPS, now available with up to 0.5MW capacity, which uses semiconductors (such as IGBTs – insulated-gate bipolar transistors, as also used on electric vehicles) to eliminate all transformers. The replacement of the typical phase shifting transformers by digital, near-instantaneous control of voltage and current gives full input power factor correction (input PF>0.99), and can reduce the input current drawn by up to 20%, consequently reducing the required switchgear ratings and cable sizes, to maximize the usable power from the supply. With the high conversion efficiency (98%) compared to traditional UPS systems at 94%, and low total harmonic distortion, the development has major commercial implications for data centers and the like.
Lamberto Tassara, president of Chloride products and services for Emerson Network Power, said, "The technology solves two major problems for data centers. Firstly, it frees them from the limited availability of grid power, and secondly it significantly cuts the capital costs and achieves high energy efficiency."
Rob Tanzer, technical support manager for Chloride AC Power explains "From the end-user perspective, 1MW worth of 98% efficient double-conversion UPS will save around GBP100,000 per year in electricity bills alone. While the technologies in the actual UPS units make them more costly, a complete power protection package incorporating those technologies will be much cheaper, because since the transformerless UPS operates at near unity input power, the specifications of gensets, cabling and switchgear can be cut by around 20%, and UK Government Enhanced Capital Allowances can effectively cut up to 28% off project costs."
Projects for the Process Industry
Process industry power quality requirements have tended to be less demanding than those of data centers, etc., but with the growth of digital control and high-value production processes, even the Chloride 80-NET UPS technology has been applied to these industrial processes, such as refineries. Clients quoted on the Chloride website include BP, Total and EDF.
Tanzer goes on to suggest that there are other technology developments in UPS systems that are suitable for process industry use. "Where incremental growth of capacity is required, or very low loads may be encountered, the technology to watch is Chloride Trinergy. It is scalable to between 200kW and 9.6MW, and the technology, introduced in the past year is really rather special, representing something of a departure for the UPS industry. Whilst it is a double- conversion UPS, it has the capacity to use its output inverter as an active harmonic filter, drawing directly from the grid, but remaining connected to the batteries. If mains power deteriorates or fails, Trinergy has the capacity to provide the same protection as double- conversion technologies, but with throughput losses of around 2% (based on UK mains power quality), which, because it is modular, it is able to sustain even when subjected to loads of as little as 20%."
Interestingly, the press release for the Chloride 80-NET UPS announces that it is launched everywhere in the world except North America. In January 1999 Chloride acquired Oneac, which was to "provide a vital introduction into the U.S. market for UPS and power conditioning." This was followed by an August 2002 announcement of "an investment program in research and development in order to access the important U.S. power protection marketplace for 3-phase UPS." It is likely that there will be a stronger emphasis on sorting out these products for the United States and Canada, now that the company wears an Emerson logo!