A host of companies, nonprofits and consortiums gathered in London to discuss how the blockchain could be used to track solar power production across the globe, while Ethereum smart contracts could utilise the data.
Author: Charlie McCombie
Democratization of energy
The ‘Chain-of-things IoT, Blockchain and Security Conference’, that took place in London on 1st June, saw the presentation of a full stack data-logger, that connects multiple blockchains to the digital output of solar energy plants.
“We think we are onto something here; by connecting a data-logger that grabs solar energy output in near-real time and then pushing that securely to multiple blockchains for different purposes we can help democratise energy wherever it is generated,” explained Luke Johnson, co-founder of ElectriCChain and CEO of Solcrypto.
The full-day event examined potential use cases for the full stack, and a two-hour ‘hackathon’ midway through the event allowed for the brainstorming of some wider use cases, with a $100 prize presented to the winner by the Intel Software - Code for Good initiative.
Representatives from Solcrypto, the company producing the node and data-logger software, Bitseed, the node manufacturer, and the SolarCoin Foundation, who distribute the SolarCoin digital token to incentivize solar power production, were present to discuss the solar power case study.
In addition, representatives from IOTA, a new type of blockchain 3.0 technology termed a ‘tangle’ that allows for direct machine-to-machine token discovery on a shared ledger seamlessly and efficiently, allowing for zero-fee microtransactions and quantum security, and the Chain-of-things (CoT) research laboratory, a research consortium for blockchain and Internet-of-things (IoT), were present.
Various speakers working in the IoT space also discussed the security, or the lack thereof, in the IoT space and “how blockchains could be employed to address the multiple attack vectors that have been hampering the development of the IoT industry throughout its history.”
“Trusted data about energy production and consumption is key to managing small grids and finance for the bottom of the pyramid,” says ElectriCChain.
ElectriCChain is the blockchain behind the SolarCoin digital asset. It helps to gather and publish non-confidential data related to solar owners for scientific (e.g. climate change), meteorological (e.g. weather/microclimate forecast), and financial (e.g. solar hedging/derivatives tools) applications.
It is aiming to deploy a network of over 7 million of these solar power-data-logger installations around the globe, according to IEA numbers, and exceed 200 million installations within 15-25 years.
However, co-operation is still ongoing as the data-logger transitions to a minimum viable product. Eventually, multiple blockchains could be integrated into the Bitseed node to serve different purposes, including interfacing with apps installed on the data-logger and with distributed apps written as smart contracts for Ethereum. The only limit to the number of blockchains that can be added to the stack is the size of the physical storage on the device and associated hardware.
Francois Sonnet, co-founder of ElectriCChain and solar industry veteran, says of the burgeoning solar power-blockchain collaborative industry:
“With Solar Energy, IoT and blockchains all on their own growth paths, we believe that this is a significant beginning to a new industry that could be phrased as ‘Blockchain-Energy’ with many applications from micro-finance of small solar home systems in developing countries to rewards based mechanisms for large scale solar plants to increase their return on investment.”