Article Posted by P.K. Agarwal, Director, Office of Technology Services (OTech)

The Cannery is a 50,000 sq foot facility just east of downtown Sacramento. In that facility are the servers and back end computers that power services to state agencies and departments. If the power to that facility goes down – the consequences can be dire for public safety and health and human services.

In June of this year, one of the four battery strings associated with the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) at the state’s Cannery facility began to fail. The fours battery strings are integral to properly protecting the state data center. The batteries act as a cushion power supply, allowing OTech staff time to switch the raised floor equipment to the Cannery’s generators or properly shut down the equipment in case of a power outage.

In order to protect the mission critical applications hosted at the state’s data center, we tested the other three strings of batteries and found they were also in danger of failure. With the situation growing urgent, we investigated and considered three options:

  1. Reusing the batteries from the South Annex facility:

    Unfortunately, we found those batteries were too old and could not provide the reliability needed to keep our critical systems at the Cannery operating during a power outage.

  2. Purchasing new batteries:

    A proposal of nearly $1 million was obtained from our battery vendor to replace all 960 battery cells. Considering the state’s severe budget crisis and plans to close the Cannery in less than a year, we continued to pursue alternate solutions.

  3. Refurbishing existing batteries:

    This was the best, most cost-effective solution. We hired Battery Research and Testing, Inc to assess the condition of our batteries. They reported that our batteries were good candidates for the Internal Ohmic Value Recovery process (IOVR+) process which extends battery life 3 to 7 years by replacing water and electrolytes while attaching a catalyst to each battery cell.

Battery Research and Testing, Inc estimated it would take about two weeks to complete their work at a cost of $93,890. If successful, OTech would save approximately $900,000 by avoiding a new battery purchase.

We authorized Battery Research and Testing to begin work on July 27, and they finished, on schedule, August 7. The IOVR+ process cost $93,890, avoiding the additional $900,000 needed to replace the batteries outright. Initial reports for each battery string showed marked improvement in the battery string operations.

I am confident that the refurbished batteries are in robust condition and will serve OTech’s and our customer’s needs until we move from the Cannery next summer.