The systems meltdown at British Airways, which left 75,000 passengers stranded last month, was preventable.
Advances in energy storage solutions mean that the chaos – and possible €100 ($112) million compensation bill – could have been avoided, claims a leading ultracapacitor manufacturer.
Taavi Madiberk, chief executive officer at Skeleton, said last week: “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 downtime. Ultracapacitor-based energy storage would have delivered just that for BA at the critical moment the company needed it.”
A power failure at BA’s data centre followed by what boss Willie Walsh calls “an uncontrolled and uncommanded” restoration of power is being blamed for the mass flight cancellations, as it “caused physical damage to the servers and distribution panels”.
Madiberk said: “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 lifetime of 15 years. The latest advantages in this technology mean that the chaos that ensued for BA was entirely preventable.”