Renewable Energy “on chain”1 April 2020
Blockchain specialist Unibright is working with an innovative German startup providing renewable energy by decentralised hydroelectric power plants
Over the last few decades, established centralized fossil fuel-based energy systems have been facing major challenges, e.g. the critical consideration of emissions, environmental pollution, long-distance transmission and energy crisis in general. As a partial answer to solve these issues, the concept of a “smart grid” has been introduced – communication technology is used along with interconnected power systems and smart metering to improve the utilization of renewable energy from various sources.
Project Stromboje – a novel hydroelectric power plant
German company Wasserkraft Mittelrhei is aiming to generate clean and renewable energy by the usage of hydroelectric power plants utilising buoys. These power buoys generate electricity by converting the power of a river’s current using a more then 8ft long rotor. Weighing over seven tons and having a length of around 36ft, one power buoy can generate electricity to 100 households.
The current pilot phase of the project, in which Unibright is engaged as the blockchain technology provider – installs 16 power buoys into the river rhine generating approximately 6.4M kilowatt hour of electricity per year. The project can provide power for more than 1000 households and save more than 6,000 tons GHG emissions.
The “Stromboje” pilot on the river rhine.
Unibright’s energy in the project
Unibright with its team of blockchain specialists, architects, developers and consultants has been asked to provide the needed blockchain based solutions for energy trading, metering, data analysis and integration.
Unibright started with a two workshops to explore the potential and the various fields where Blockchain technology can be utilized within the solution:
Energy trading: The main goal for an alternative energy source is to provide energy that is consumed directly and locally. Remaining energy has to be fed/routed to the main network provider and is compensated according to the “German Renewable Energy Sources Act” (EEG 2017)
Metering: The constant flow of produced energy, consumed energy and routed energy has to be metered and monitored to provide the correct accounting and announcement of surplus energy for the main network provider
Data Analysis: Being a pilot project in a new segment of alternative energy, the accumulated data on energy production, consumption and feed is a value on its own. Data Ownership, governance and monetization of data is considered as a dedicated vertical of the startup
Integration: As with all technical oriented there is a lot of integration work. Not only internally within the project (energy sources, consumers), but also externally towards auditors, regulators, network providers, accounting units and many more.
The Unibright Framework will be used to provide two major pillars of the productive solution: Smart contract generation and integration. There is potential for different levels where smart contracts can act within the solution, e.g. representing energy tokens or data tokens, or establishing a contractual relationship between energy producer and consumer including automatic billing and payment. This will be done by dedicated Templates within the Unibright Workflow Designer and code generation by the Unibright Lifecycle Manager.
The internal data and process modelling has to be connected and integrated to existing data standards and demands from external parties like auditors, regulators and network providers. This will be done by dedicated smart adaptors within the Unibright Connector.
The Unibright Explorer will be used to provide Dashboards to monitor the internal transactions and APIs for “external” users (like consumers) to monitor their consumption and data usage.
Unibright co-founders Marten and Stefan inside the Stromboje
Currently, the first pilot buoy has been installed in river Rhine, mainly to collect data on the river’s current and to provide information for external auditors in terms of environmental sustainability and stability of the construct.
All innovative ideas, milestones and roadmaps have to be adjusted according to the regulator and external funding, and the goal is to have 16 buoys installed, producing energy and using Unibright technology by the beginning of 2021.