MILWAUKEE — N1 Critical Technologies’ lineup of lithium-ion uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems have earned the 2019 Sustainable Business Award from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council.

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council LogoThe group announced the award a its annual conference held mid December at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee. The awards recognize businesses and individuals for prioritizing sustainability and making strides toward impactful change in Wisconsin. N1C — established in 2015 by Nate Ellsworth and David Farrell — is based in Janesville, Wisconsin.

N1C’s lithium-ion UPS systems won the Product Division award category. (See other award winners below.)

Award winners demonstrate leadership, initiative, innovation and are making measurable impacts, according to the council.

“There is a growing interest in sustainability for many Wisconsin businesses,” Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council Managing Director Jessy Servi Ortiz said. “These awards are designed to recognize businesses for their efforts in developing sustainable products and processes, and to honor some of the incredible business leaders in the state.”

N1 Critical was the first company to design, develop and offer a full lineup of single-phase lithium-ion battery backup systems in the world. The company has systems ranging in size from 1kVA to 10kVA in single phase power, and 20-30kVA in three-phase power. While other companies have since come out with similar lithium-ion systems, N1C remains the only company to feature an industry-leading online double conversion power protection topology using internal lithium-ion batteries and a 10-year full replacement warranty.

The systems save energy and significantly reduce raw materials used to support backup power needs. Most traditional UPS systems use lead acid batteries, which include two toxic materials to provide stored energy — lead and sulfuric acid. They also typically need to be replaced every few years, sending tons of heavy metals, plastics and chemicals to landfills and recycling centers.

The lithium-ion batteries found in N1C-branded systems have a 15-year design life and are lighter weight and easier to transport. This reduces carbon emissions by not having to frequently transport replacement lead batteries across the globe.

For example, N1C’s external lithium-ion battery UPS option can provide power to an 1800-watt load for about 60 minutes with just one, 50-pound battery. The world’s largest manufacturer of UPS systems needs to use four, 75-pound lead acid batteries (90-pounds each shipping weight) to get equivalent “on battery” runtime. These lead acid batteries have an expected life of 3-5 years maximum, at best a third of the expected life of N1C’s lithium-ion batteries.

The N1C lithium-ion systems have also been shown to use fewer watts/amps when operating normally, and they recharge faster, which saves electrical energy supplied from utilities.

Carbon emissions and electrical energy are further reduced as lithium-ion batteries have a higher working temperature tolerance. This means they can be used in higher temperature environments, reducing a facility’s need to cool the room they’re used in with energy-consuming air conditioning equipment.

Also, when the lithium-ion batteries are no longer suitable for a UPS, they can be “up-cycled” and used in other non-critical applications such as solar power energy storage, portable charging devices, toys and more. The batteries may still have up to an 80% charge capacity left when they are no longer suitable for UPS backup power.

“Our engineering team designed our lithium-ion units not only with our customers’ needs in mind, but with the environment in mind, as well,” said N1C President Jeff Hansing. “Our customers have been realizing the benefits of these units since we introduced them to the market in early 2018. Our forecasted growth in the coming years will mean continued environmental and financial benefits that help both our customers and our communities.

“We’re thrilled with the award recognition and look forward to further reducing the sheer amount of heavy and toxic lead acid UPS batteries there are on the market today. We have unique  and top-of-the-line products on the market and are honored to receive this recognition for them.”

Other 2019 award winners:


Dr. Peggy Murphy, Sustainability Strategy Leader, North America Consumer Products, Kimberly-Clark Corp., Neenah


Pam Mehnert, General Manager, Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative


Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac, for Sustainable Stewardship of Aluminum for Manufacturing (*note: Mercury Marine won the 2018 Product Category award)

About the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council

The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council is a network of Wisconsin businesses and organizations that are interested in, or actively responding to, the challenge of sustainability. Many businesses find themselves challenged by stakeholders to describe what they are doing in this field. The council is designed to bring businesses together and provide resources to help businesses on their path toward being more sustainable.

Interest in sustainability can be driven by crisis (i.e. the 2007 recession, a PR crisis, or a “crisis” created by regulatory pressure such as in the cap and trade area) or as a way to minimize risks. It is a need in the 21st Century Market and many businesses are unprepared to proactively respond with a plan on how to integrate sustainability into the business. Wisconsin is fortunate to have many businesses that have helped to blaze some of the sustainability trail and are leaders in Wisconsin, Nationally and some even internationally.

The Council seeks to create opportunities for businesses to learn from each other. By working together, the business climate is improved and the success of Wisconsin businesses is increased.