GE Encourages Telecoms to Upgrade Legacy Power Systems Gradually

September 16, 2014 By Karen Henry

General Electric energy manageFerro-resonant rectifiers have been the power supply mainstay for telecommunication central office operations for decades. Unfortunately, many of these rectifiers are reaching the end of their maximum service levels and are slowly declining in performance and energy efficiency. But even as the demand for wireless and 4G bandwidth continues to increase, facility managers are hesitant to replace rectifiers while they are still able to perform their primary function of converting an electric utility’s AC power into DC power for telecommunication switching equipment.

Despite ongoing maintenance costs and lower energy efficiency levels, the time commitment and financial investment necessary to replace the system are often too high. A new white paper from GE’s Critical Power Business, Upgrading Legacy Power Systems at Telecommunication Central Offices, says phasing in retrofits as part of a regular maintenance schedule over a year’s time would provide facility managers with the best of all worlds—incremental deployment time, increased energy efficiency and a lower capital investment.

A phased-in, upgrade strategy and deployment of next-generation of switch mode rectifiers (SMR) specially engineered for a retrofit incorporates a power conversion switching regulator that continually switches between low-dissipation, full-on and full-off states to limit wasted energy. This type of retrofit can help facility managers realize energy-efficiency levels reaching 96 to 97 percent compared with legacy systems with efficiencies in the 80 to 85 percent range.

In one telecommunications central office retrofit program, the operation replaced a combination of 400 A and 200 A ferro rectifiers with 27 220 A GE 595LT-TEZ series rectifiers. The conversion improved energy efficiency to 96.9 percent running at 74 percent utilization and generated $58,854 in annual energy savings, based on 10 cents kWh.

A phased-in approach also allows upgrades to be made in sync with the acquisition of other new telecommunications technologies.

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