The number one cause of emergency and standby generator starting failure is the genset starting batteries. NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, specifies that starting batteries shall be of the nickel-cadmium or lead-acid type.
The NFPA 110 technical committee approved proposed changes to the NFPA 110 2025 standard that changes the “Type of Battery” specification to include nickel-zinc battery chemistry. While these changes are pending the public approval stage, we fully expect this to be integrated into the 2025 standard.
Why is this proposed change important to you? Let’s look at the current genset starting battery environment.
Lead-Acid Batteries — a common solution that risks critical power infrastructure integrity
Lead-acid batteries are the most common emergency genset starting battery. Lead-acid batteries have a low upfront cost and are readily available. However, lead-acid batteries fail suddenly, oftentimes catastrophically, and are the leading factor in emergency generator starting failure. Lead-acid batteries must be replaced every 18-36 months to ensure reliable engine starting performance.
Nickel-Cadmium Batteries — an expensive alternative with marginal performance
Nickel-cadmium batteries are inherently more robust than lead-acid batteries. They offer longer service life and longer shelf-life, and they operate without sudden failure mechanisms. However, nickel-cadmium batteries come at a substantially greater upfront cost and are not readily available. Nickel-cadmium batteries require much larger footprints than their lead-acid counterparts and are very complex systems to install and maintain. Nickel-cadmium batteries also have lower engine starting performance characteristics than a healthy, well-maintained lead-acid battery bank.
Both lead-acid and nickel-cadmium starting batteries require regular maintenance by trained service staff to ensure reliable starting power delivery to the emergency and standby generator.
Our Recommended Solution — Nickel-Zinc Batteries
Stored Energy Systems (SENS), the industry leader in generator battery chargers, has developed a new genset starting solution that offers significant reliability, safety, footprint, logistic and sustainability improvements for emergency and standby power systems.
Developed in partnership with ZincFive, the SuperTorque 8Z Engine Starting System employs a nickel-zinc battery bank integrated with a dedicated battery charger, communications, controls, and user-interface — all packaged in a single integrated solution that has the footprint of a single 8D battery.
The SuperTorque 8Z is a revolutionary approach to the genset starting battery system:
- A single SuperTorque 8Z provides comparable engine starting performance as (4) lead-acid 8D batteries and their dedicated charger. A single factory-packaged and tested 8Z replaces a system of four batteries, charger, and ten field-connected wires.
- SENS provides each SuperTorque 8Z system with a 10-year factory standard full replacement warranty.
- The long cycle-life and simplicity of the SuperTorque 8Z provide inherent reliability benefits.
- The SuperTorque 8Z eliminates the safety hazards of thermal runaway and battery explosion.
- The SuperTorque 8Z is 1/4th the size and 1/7th the weight of comparable lead-acid battery systems allowing for reduced engine footprints and simpler installations and servicing of the starting batteries.
- The SuperTorque 8Z has 96% less GHG emissions than lead-acid systems.
MGI sees the SuperTorque 8Z from SENS as a revolutionary technological advancement for genset starting systems that increases the safety, reliability, and sustainability of emergency and standby power systems.