Physics-based simulation of the impact of demand response on lead-acid emergency power availability in a datacenter

A. Mamun, D. Wang, I. Narayanan, A. Sivasubramaniam, H. K. Fathy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper uses a one-dimensional, physics-based model of a valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery to examine the impact of demand response on uninterruptible power supply (UPS) availability in a datacenter. Datacenters are facilities that provide services such as cloud computing, web search, etc. They are also large electricity consumers. An energy-efficient 15 MW datacenter, for instance, may pay $1 m per month for electricity. Datacenters often utilize VRLA batteries to ensure high reliability in serving their computational demand. This motivates the paper's central question: to what extent does the use of datacenter UPS batteries for demand response affect their availability for their primary purpose (namely, emergency power)? We address this question using a physics-based model of the coupled diffusion-reaction dynamics of VRLA batteries. We discretize this model using finite differences, and simulate it for different datacenter battery pack sizes. The results show that for a typical datacenter power demand profile, a VRLA battery pack sized for UPS functionality can provide demand response with only a minimal loss of UPS availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-524
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Physics-based simulation of the impact of demand response on lead-acid emergency power availability in a datacenter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this