The Co-operative Bank’s Pyramid building in Stockport has become the first major data centre in the world to use a compressed air electricity generating system to supply back-up power.

Launched on 13th August, the new environmentally friendly system uses clean, compressed air and replaces scores of lead acid batteries which were needed to supply power in case the mains electricity supply was interrupted.

The new system, termed the Air-DRUPS, uses green VFI UPS technology from Socomec and cuts in as soon as the mains power is lost and uses a series of scroll generators that are driven by compressed air to provide an emergency supply of electricity for a few seconds until the back-up generator kicks in. The compressed air scroll generators that form the heart of the system are designed and manufactured by Pnu Power in the UK (Part of Energetix Group PLC).

Martyn Hulme, managing director, Co-operative Estates, said, “At The Co-operative we are always looking at ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and so when our uninterruptible power supply (UPS) was up for renewal we wanted to find a greener system that would make the lead acid batteries obsolete.

“This is the first time this compressed air system has been used in this way and we are confident that others will follow our lead.

“The initial capital outlay is comparable to similar UPS systems although higher than those using batteries but the total cost over the lifetime of the product is much lower making it highly attractive.”