Frequent power cuts that disrupt crucial operations of organizations create the need for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. Companies dependent on sensitive electronic equipment require continuous, reliable power, thereby increasing the demand for power quality products.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (www.powersupplies.frost.com), World UPS Market: Alternative Energy Storage Solutions, reveals that revenues in this industry totaled $186.86 billion in 2002, and are projected to reach $326.61 billion by 2009.

Although the bulk of conventional UPS systems utilize lead acid batteries owing to their low cost, proven outcomes, and ready availability, emerging alternative technologies are gradually attracting the attention of end users.

"There is a growing interest in battery-free solutions, especially in large- load equipment such as flywheel technology," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Farah Saeed.

High-maintenance batteries require a temperature-controlled environment and constant monitoring. On the other hand, flywheel UPSs deliver significant advantages in the form of low maintenance, premium power quality, and reduced size due to elimination of batteries.

"Flywheel systems are an ideal solution for short-term power interruptions, allowing end users peace of mind without the hassle of managing and maintaining batteries," says Saeed.

In the short-term ride-through market, ultracapacitors have an edge due to their simple configuration, lack of moving or mechanical parts, lighter weight and environmental safety. Longer life cycle and lower maintenance requirements, in comparison to batteries, increases their suitability for short-term bridging.

However, penetrating the established and mature UPS market poses a challenge to vendors. End users will show initial reluctance to experiment with new, higher-priced technologies, especially for backing up mission-critical applications.

Vendors must raise product visibility by educating end users and promoting their products. They must aim to overcome end user resistance by demonstrating product durability and reliability.

"Although alternative technologies offer advantages such as longer life cycle and lower maintenance, they still need to be perfected in terms of obtaining competitive prices, increasing production capabilities, and overcoming technology shortcomings," concludes Saeed. EC