Intelligent Power Vault (IPV) is a high energy density lithium-ion battery system developed by Accutronics that is particularly suitable for applications where energy reliability, flexibility, and safety are considered paramount.
Over the past ten years, lithium ion battery technology has become the default choice for powering portable electronic devices as it provides longer runtimes and lower weight than older chemistries such as nickel cadmium (NiCad), nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH), and lead acid.
However, the transportation of lithium ion batteries by air, sea, and road is heavily regulated and lithium ion batteries must pass mandatory transportation tests before they can be shipped. Once tested, these batteries must be packed in accordance with strict packaging and paperwork requirements and limitations are placed on the number and weight of batteries shipped. Batteries with energy in excess of 100 W·h have additional restrictions placed upon them, which can make their transport costly for the company or individual trying to ship the battery.
Accutronics has created an off-the-shelf, modular battery system that draws energy from removable, sub 100 W·h Li-ion smart batteries and feeds them through a central controller. This allows an energy system with less than 100 W·h to be manufactured while still complying with transportation regulations. Up to eight batteries can be built into one system, providing in excess of 700 W·h.
IPV is a power management device that uses multiple Li-ion smart batteries to provide rechargeable battery power to a wide range of devices. The hot-swappable smart battery technology offers an innovative way of storing energy for critical applications. Modularization offers the high energy density and flexibility of smart Li-ion battery technology with reduced shipping limitations.
The IPV consists of a control module on the exterior and slots for between two and eight battery modules. Each of the individual modules contained in the IPV is a compact 86.4 Wh rechargeable Li-ion battery, called the VR420. Special brackets for mounting in a 19-in rack are available for units configured with eight batteries.
The loading system allows batteries to be easily removed for transportation without the need for tools. Once taken out of the rack, the individual batteries are excepted from shipping regulations and can be shipped with the IPV under a UN packing instruction that allows the shipment of Li-ion batteries with less than 100 W·h with equipment. This enables the IPV to can transported anywhere by air, sea, or road without the cost and complexity associated with dangerous goods shipping.
Weighing less than 8 kg, Accutronics says the IPV with eight batteries is two and a half times lighter than an equivalent lead acid battery, making it easy for it to be built it into the base of a trolley or cart. The IPV can also used in high-end automated laboratory equipment where power failure cannot be tolerated. Other applications include communications equipment and embedded computing devices, such as industrial PCs and robotic backup.
“Battery backup can be portable, cost effective, and reliable, provided the right technologies are used," said Michele Windsor, Direct Sales and Marketing Manager at Accutronics. "Unsurprisingly, consumer-style energy solutions are not the best way of achieving this and they can’t be relied upon to support critical applications."