A live energy blockchain demonstration

At TOBLOCKCHAIN we developed a live energy blockchain demonstration as part of the SBIR project for the Rotterdam – Den Haag metropolitan region. Using this solution, households, companies and even electric vehicles can exchange energy data in near real-time. In this blog we review the technical demo environment as it is implemented at the Green Village test environment of the TU Delft.

The PowerToShare live energy blockchain demonstration

Today’s energy networks and information systems haven’t been designed for the energy transition. Our energy system is decentralizing but the current structure is still organized in a central and top-down manner. There are fixed contracts between large energy providers and their customers, with little or no room for these customers to play an active role themselves.

In a decentralized renewable energy market, it should be possible for customers to exchange energy data and execute energy transactions directly between each other. For example, they want to sell their surplus of generated renewable energy to peers or share it with community members. Decentralized green energy sources should be registered, verified and certified. And people need more insights into their energy usage to actively control their behaviour. To make that possible in the near future, we will need a new blockchain powered digital data infrastructure. A blockchain infrastructure that settles transactions even on a per kWh basis in a secure, transparent and cost-efficient way. The current infrastructures just don’t support this.

This is what PowerToShare offers. It is an energy efficient open consortium blockchain network that powers various energy applications. As part of our live energy blockchain demonstration, a number of energy applications have been developed and demonstrated on top of the PowerToShare blockchain network. The network itself is connected to a variety of energy systems at the Green Village to prove its technical readiness.

Energy applications demonstrated in the live energy blockchain demonstration

In the live energy blockchain demonstration, the following applications are being demonstrated:

  • Login with Self Sovereign Identity. This app allows an end-user to login to energy services with his own ‘self-sovereign identity’. By using blockchain technology, the end-user keeps full ownership and control over his identity information. It is not kept with a central party.
  • Mandate control. With this application customers can easily control which energy market players have access to their data and for which purposes they can use this data.
  • Energy Preference control. Using this application an end-user can adjust the settings for his own energy preferences. For example, he can set the priorities as follows: 1) locally generated renewable energy 2) renewable energy from other sources and 3) any other energy source.
  • Proof of Origin certification. This application transparantly registers and guarantees the (renewable) origin of all energy received. The proof of origin can be used in creating new green energy certificates which have a defined market value.
  • Energy Flexibility control. The flexibility app allows an end-user to inform energy producers within decentralized networks about his ability to be flexible in his energy usage. With more flexible energy users, local energy generation and usage can be balanced in a far better way.
  • Energy Asset register. This application provides a transparent and reliable registration of renewable energy sources and their owners.

The Green Village energy demo environment

The six applications mentioned, are all deployed and demonstrated at the Green Village test environment. The Green Village is an initiative of Delft University of Technology and Stichting Green Village. The platform is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the Province of South-Holland, the municipality of Delft, Alliander, Gasterra, and many others.
Goal of the Green Village is to accelerate the development and implementation of sustainable innovations. The Green Village does this by bringing together everyone who needs to be involved – scientists and engineers, businesses, the public, and government – at an inspiring place where innovations can be developed, tested and demonstrated. It is an experimental real-life setting, a true living lab at Delft University of Technology that is open to anyone. Inside the Green Village, our PowerToShare demo is integrated with a number of subsystems.

The figure below provides a conceptual overview of the demo. The generic PowerToShare Energy Blockchain Network supports various smart contracts and can be connected to energy market players like Energy Service Providers and System Operators. For the demo, the blockchain network is connected to the subsystems at the Green Village via the local IoT infrastructure. On top of the blockchain network 6 applications have been developed for the demonstration.

live energy blockchain demonstration conceptual overview

Important step towards operational deployment

So, for the first time we were able to connect our PowerToShare solution to a real working environment. With multiple technical systems, connected via the Internet of Things. We were able to develop the full IoT integration with these devices at the Green Village. All systems are connected to the blockchain which guarantees authenticity, immutability, integrity, provenance and time stamping for sensor data.

As such, it is a major milestone on our route from the initial prototype towards the final product which is ready for commercial deployment and rollout in the real world with real energy systems. Currently, we are in discussions with energy market player to make this next step. Exciting times ahead for the TOBLOCKCHAIN development team!

For the people interested in the technical details we provide in the section below the various connected subsystems in more detail.

In-depth reading: Energy blockchain connections to sensors and systems

In the Green Village we implemented the live energy blockchain demonstration and integrated it with the various systems and sensors available at the Green Village test environment. A substantial number of renewable assets are part of the trial environment. This section provides the technical details about the sensors and other components installed.

Prêt-à-Loger (PAL)

Pret a Loger connected to the live energy blockchain demonstration

The Prêt-à-Loger (PAL) is a typical Dutch terraced house adapted to make it more energy efficient. It has a surface area of 116m2 (including the greenhouse surface) with only a bidirectional electricity grid connection. There is no natural gas or district heat grid connection, thus making it an all-electric house. The PV system is installed on the roof and on the greenhouse window with a capacity of 4.9 kWp comprising of 25 modules with 1170 monocrystalline silicon solar cells in total. The modules are all connected in series to power optimizers to ensure maximum power point tracking. The total system is connected to an inverter to convert the DC output of the PV string to AC (230 V, 50 Hz, single phase).

The Q-Power device

Q-power device connected to the live energy blockchain demonstration

Q-Power is a device that is attached to the existing mechanical or electronic power meter to measure the consumption data. It’s a light sensor on an actual kWh sensor that measures the energy consumption by counting pulse. This sensor is also used for the PV carport charging pole. There are 6 readers, collecting information from the heat pump, PV panels of PAL, PV production of the car port, the hydrogen grid feeder and the car charging station.

Hydrogen car as power plant

Hydrogen car used in the live energy blockchain demonstration

At the Green Village, a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is adapted with a power output socket capable of delivering up to 10 kW direct current (DC) to the alternating current (AC) grid when parked, via an off-board (grid-tie) inverter having the same voltage and frequency as the grid.

Grid feeder grid-tie inverter

Grid feeder grid-tie inverter (Ginlong inverter) as connected to the energy blockchain demo

An off-the-shelf Ginlong inverter – GCI three phase series wind inverters (GCI-10K-W, the 10 kW 3-phase version) – is used to transfer DC power (from hydrogen car to the controller) into AC power and feed into grid.

Grid Connection

Grid connection as used in the the energy blockchain demo

The grid connection is monitored via the Sineax-AM series devices. These devices measure and monitor in heavy current grids. It is used in any type of grids from single-phase mains through to 4-wire unbalanced load systems. It provides information for the four quadrants namely demand / supply / inductive / capacitive from the generator or the consumer perspective. Sensor is used to read the grid connection data.

Office Electricity meter

The Power and the Electricity meter at the office is from the Schneider PM5100 Series. It is a 3-phase voltage, current, power, demand, energy, frequency, power factor which is read using ION Setup. It has a measurement range from 45 to 65 Hz, support an AC range 100 – 277 V and DC 125-250 V. Both active as wel as reactive energy (delivered and received) are read from the meter, while data transmission is done via RS485 communication.

Office lab Solar panel system with battery pack

Office lab Solar panel system with battery pack, to be connected to the demo blockchain

The Solar panel system with a battery pack on the top of the Office lab is from Victron energy. This data is currently not accessible for the project.

DC Homes Electricity meters

DC Homes Electricity meters to be connected to the energy blockchain solution

The Electricity meters that are used for reading the energy consumption at the DC homes are currently the AC meters from Landis+Gyr. Currently there are no sensors installed yet to read the data, so the data received from the AC meters is via the data dump.

Want to know more about our live energy blockchain demonstration?

Do you like to receive more information about this blockchain demo environment? Or are you interested to watch the live demo? Please use our contactpage and we will get back to you soon.