Dutch Tech Firm ElaadNL Using IOTA Blockchain For Autonomous Self-Balancing Power Grid PoC

Dutch tech firm ElaadNL is using IOTA‘s Tangle technology for a proof of concept (PoC) that explores how smart grids can autonomously balance energy consumption.

ElaadNL is smart charging infrastructure lab in the Netherlands founded by Dutch grid operators. It researches and tests the possibilities for smart charging: charging electric vehicles in a reliable, affordable and sustainable way.

In its official announcement, ElaadNL said that while advances have been made to use less energy in our daily lives, electrically-charged vehicles, heat pumps and the multitude of electronic devices can lead to major increases in our daily energy consumption. To solve these challenges, ElaadNL created a PoC at its test lab in Arnhem, together with grid operator Enexis, using IOTA Tangle, an innovative type of blockchain specifically designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) environment.

“The PoC shares data securely via the IOTA Tangle and lets the charging devices themselves decide if they want to help balance the grid load or not,” ElaadNL said. “By charging electric vehicles at a slower speed or during an off-peak time, the charging stations earn a small fee in IOTA tokens. The system runs itself –  no human interaction is needed.”

The grid in this PoC will reportedly connect all devices to a particular area of the grid, along with the transformer supplying energy. If a cable reaches its limit, or the sum of the cables exceeds what the transformer can deliver, the transformer can request all connected devices to lower their energy demands. If one or more devices lowers its energy usage, they receive a few tokens of the IOTA cryptocurrency.

Harm van den Brink, IT Architect Smart Grids & Electric Vehicles at ElaadNL and advisor to IOTA Foundation, said that this proof of concept shows a possible future electricity system, where energy is shared among neighbors and decentralized islands are capable of balancing itself.

“We are using our electricity grid in a totally different way than we did 50 years ago,” said van den Brink. “We went from only consuming to also producing energy. We are demanding more energy at peak times, and when the sun is shining we have a surplus of energy. This all should be dealt with in real time. Our solution is a first step in that direction. With our proof of concept, we are showing that this can be done, although future development is required to actually put this in the grid.”

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