Socomec UPS and PNU Power have been recognised by the Electrical Industry Awards for their groundbreaking Air DRUPSTM system: high efficiency, low carbon, uninterruptible power.

Combining the most efficient and innovative components – the world’s greenest VFI UPS technology from Socomec plus groundbreaking compressed air “batteries” from PNU Power –  the result is a cutting edge, environmentally-friendly, critical power system that can provide backup power for Data Centres and other critical buildings.

Andrew Wilkinson, Managing Director of Socomec UPS UK is delighted that the wider electrical industry has recognised this groundbreaking innovation developed in conjunction with PNU Power: “At Socomec we invest heavily in pioneering research and product design in order to deliver world-class innovations that solve our customers’ greatest challenges in terms of energy efficiency and reliability as well as Total Cost of Ownership.  The development of Air DRUPSTM and the flagship installation at The Co-operative Bank is the first time that compressed air has been used in this way and will certainly pave the way for Data Centres around the world to adopt this greener, cleaner technology.  All parties involved with the development project realised at an early stage that we were developing an incredibly exciting, disruptive technology; this recognition from Electrical Times not only confirms that, but is a great compliment to everyone involved in bringing this truly innovative system to market.”

The Co-operative Bank’s Pyramid building in Stockport became the first major data centre in the world to use a compressed air electricity generating system to supply backup power in August 2012.

Socomec UPS and PNU Power brought together their complimentary skills and knowledge to develop a completely novel solution to surpass increasingly demanding market needs, working closely with their customer – The Co-operative Bank – to deliver efficiency improvements and a reduction in maintenance and redundancy.  As a forward-thinking UK organization focused on minimizing environmental impact, The Co-op was keen to explore a battery-free UPS solution – therefore eliminating several tons of lead and acid, and dramatically reducing the maintenance required with traditional rotary systems. 

Martyn Hulme, Managing Director Co-operative Estates, said: “At The Co-operative we are always looking at ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and so when our Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) was up for renewal we wanted to find a greener system that would make the lead acid batteries obsolete.  The initial capital outlay is comparable to similar UPS systems although higher than those using batteries but the total cost over the lifetime of the product is much lower making it highly attractive.”

How does Air DRUPSTM work?

Air-DRUPS uses stored compressed air to generate electricity, supporting critical loads in the event of mains failure.  The Air-DRUPS™ system cuts in as soon as the mains power is lost and uses a series of scroll generators, driven by the release of the compressed air, to provide an emergency supply of electricity for the time required to support the load until a stand-by diesel generator kicks in.

Air-DRUPS’TM innovative use of compressed air is a clean, environmentally friendly alternative to the scores of lead acid batteries used today to provide short term energy storage in critical power applications.  The compressed air battery system uses negligible power in standby, is virtually maintenance free with a minimum 20 year service life and is based on well tested and dependable technology.  By using Super Capacitors to ride over any short term outages the system instantly delivers 100% of the UPS power required and also greatly reduces the need for diesel generator starts caused by short outages.  The initial capital outlay is marginally higher than similar UPS systems using batteries, however, this is more than compensated for through the reduction in total lifetime cost.  The compressed air batteries do not require any component changes during the system life and can operate at much higher temperatures, making the need for air-conditioning to protect the batteries redundant.

The patented compressed air scroll generators that form the heart of the system are designed and manufactured in the UK.  When combined with Socomec’s Green Power 2.0 UPS technology – unity output power factor (PF=1) – the system becomes the world’s most efficient double-conversion true online critical power solution. 

To find out more about the revolutionary Air DRUPSTM and how it could benefit your organisation, please call 01285 863300 or email