Earlier this month an IT meltdown caused travel chaos for an estimated 75,000 British Airways (BA) passengers. A power failure (and in particular, the uncontrolled restoration of power at BA’s major data centre), caused flight cancellations on a massive scale which will cost the airline something in the region of £80m.
Taavi Madiberk, Chief Executive Officer at Skeleton, a European ultracapacitor manufacturer, has commented on how advances in energy storage solutions mean that the chaos that ensued for BA was entirely preventable.
“BA could have saved hundreds of millions of pounds if they had a solution that allowed their Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to react quickly enough to deliver the 2,5MW back-up power required to keep systems running and avoid down-time,” he said. “Ultracapacitor-based energy storage would have delivered just that for BA at the critical moment the company needed it.
“The essential role of UPS is to ensure there are no interruptions to energy supply. Ultracapacitors are well suited to this market due to their superior reliability, instant reaction and long life, allowing them to perform fast functions such as power bridging and frequency response, essential in this scenario. As opposed to batteries, which use a chemical reaction to store energy, ultracapacitors store energy in an electrical field, ensuring that they have immediate availability of MW scale power output and there is virtually no degradation over the life time of 15 years. The latest advantages in this technology mean that the chaos that ensued for BA was entirely preventable.”