ABB, Evolvere jointly launch blockchain energy pilot


ABB and Evolvere have revealed that they are using blockchain technology that was developed with their partner, Prosume, to facilitate peer-to-peer energy transactions in a new pilot project.

“We are keen to work with like-minded organizations, such as Evolvere, to test the potential of blockchain technology in solar systems, which will give us a powerful platform for future energy sharing solutions,” said Giampiero Frisio, head of ABB’s Smart Power Business line.

The companies revealed few details about the pilot. They hope it will give rise to transformative business models for smart-grids, based on the ABB Ability digital services platform and the group’s inverter portfolio, including its UNO-DM-PLUS solar inverters and REACT 2 inverters with storage. In particular, the ABB Ability platform will be able to facilitate the creation of smart contracts directly into the group's inverters.

ABB claims its inverters can help to more efficiently manage energy exchange in smart-grid environments, by utilizing smart contracts and blockchain technology to store, verify and maintain peer-to-peer transactions on a public distributed ledger.

“The way people consume and harness their energy is changing,” said Frisio. “Prosumers, who use their own photovoltaic systems, are looking at how they can not only produce and use the energy they create, but also review how they can then share any excess energy between neighbors, communities and the wider grid.”

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ABB believes that it can use blockchain technology to decentralize the way in which transactions are processed, with the ultimate aim of reducing costs for energy consumers. Blockchain could also facilitate faster transactions and automatic payments for a range of services.

ABB and Evolvere hope to demonstrate how blockchain-ready inverters with built-in digital capabilities could help utilities and aggregators to reduce capex and opex for energy projects. Once it wraps up the pilot project, ABB plans to make sure all of its inverters in the same class are compatible with blockchain technology.

“We are committed to spreading the advantages of distributed energy generation through smart-grid technology to enable homeowners to realize just how close we are to sharing energy with other consumers,” said Franco Giampetruzzi, CEO of Evolvere. “ABB is a high quality and reliable partner that supports our innovations in the blockchain space.”

A number of companies and organizations throughout the global energy sector have started to experiment with blockchain technology. In March, for example, the University of Cyprus revealed plans to pair blockchain technology with 5 MWp of PV capacity with 2.35 MWh of battery storage. Furniture retailer Ikea also started working with blockchain this year, as did Japanese PV module supplier Kyocera, which is testing the feasibility of using distributed ledgers in a virtual power plant, with blockchain technology provided by US-based LO3 Energy.

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