25 February 2019

Smart flexible energy using blockchain technology

Source: EnergyCoin Foundation

How do we ensure the expansion of new distributed and flexible energy resources like solar panels and electric vehicles is beneficial for everyone involved? Utrecht University researcher Tarek AlSkaif has been awarded a grant by TKI Urban Energy for the project B-DER: A Blockchain-based platform for peer-to-peer energy transactions between distributed energy resources. The project aims to develop a peer-to-peer energy trading platform that guarantees a reliable decentralised energy grid.

In the 20th century the energy production landscape was traditionally dominated by gas and coal and distributed via a centralised grid. Power flowed in one direction from plant to end user. This system is being reshaped by the recent surge of distributed energy resources, which include solar panels, electric vehicles, battery energy storage  and electric vehicle charging stations. This new flexible energy system is characterized by two-way power flows.

New management schemes

The rapid deployment of these new distributed energy resources and the possibilities for two-way power flows calls for new ways of managing the energy they generate and use. These should ensure maximum economic and environmental potential, empower end-users and guarantee grid reliability.

Development of a peer-to-peer energy platform

AlSkaif will develop a peer-to-peer energy trading platform. This will allow households generating their own energy, for example through solar panels on their roofs, to sell their extra energy to other households in the area. This platform will also allow households to trade with different types distributed energy resources – through selling their solar energy to electric vehicles charging stations in the neighbourhood for example.

The platform will be tested using data from a residential neighborhood in Amsterdam

Blockchain architecture for secure transactions

Project partners will develop an algorithm to allow households to minimize their electricity costs through maximizing the use of solar energy generated locally. At the same time the algorithm will ensure a profitability for electric vehicle charging stations. To enable secure and verifiable decentralized energy transactions, the algorithm will use blockchain architecture.

The project will test its platform using actual household demand and PV generation data, as well as data on electric vehicle charging station demand from a residential neighborhood in Amsterdam.

Partners

The project has been funded by TKI Urban Energy and is carried out in collaboration with Resourcefully and the EnergyCoin Foundation. It is supported by Dutch distribution system operator Liander, ElaadNL (Netherlands smart charging infrastructure knowledge and innovation centre), and Amsterdam City Council.

About Tarek AlSkaif

Tarek AlSkaif obtained his MSc in Electrical Engineering from Damascus University in Syria. He was awarded his PhD in 2016 from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain for his dissertation Energy Sharing in Smart Grids: A Game Theoretic Approach. Since 2016 Tarek has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University.

Tarek focuses on different research problems in smart grids, including demand side management, consumer/prosumer engagement and smart integration of distributed energy resources, and thereby contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal Affordable and Clean Energy and Sustainable Cities and Communities.

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