Editorial Feature

Blockchain Technology and Its Future in the Energy Sector

The term “blockchain technology” has a broad spectrum of meanings, as its use can be applied to the well-known Bitcoin Blockchain, Ethereum Blockhain, or even in reference to any type of virtual currency or smart contract.

As the premier employer of blockchain technology, Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency system that allows people to send ‘coins’ to each other directly without requiring a bank or high fees that are often associated with such transactions.

For Bitcoin purposes, the blockchain technology is the network in which all confirmed transactions are placed on a shared public ledger1. The consumer’s financial protection is ensured through a number of cryptographic protocols that are integrated into the Bitcoin technology.  

There are several advantages associated with implementing blockchain technology into any of its prospective sectors. These include:

  • Resilience: The blockchain technology relies upon a network of various different individuals, or miners, who have the tools to review and verify any transactions, which allows the system to readily avoid the threat of any security intrusions.
  • Accountability: Any transaction within the blockchain technology is presented on a transparent network that can be accessed by its participants, thereby allowing the network to elicit a trustworthy environment for transactions to take place.
  • Digital: By maintaining a completely digital environment in which every transaction and interaction within the blockchain system encounters, consumers can be confident that they are protected through such extensive documentation. Additionally, the ledger entries within blockchain technology can be coded in innumerable ways, allowing this technology to have widespread applications across the industrial sector2.    

Beyond Bitcoin, various other industries are looking towards how the blockchain technology can be implemented for strengthening their presence in the digital world.

For example, the media and telecommunications industries have already looked towards implementation of a blockchain ledger into their own networks to better the secure communication between their devices.

IBM and Samsung have already applied Ethereum, a blockchain-based framework, to regulate the communication between the numerous applications utilized on their devices, while simultaneously eliminating the possible threat of fraud in their use.

The diligent recording and linking of every transaction made across the Bitcoin network has inspired Researchers within the energy sector to look towards how blockchain technology can simplify the exchange of different types of energy.

One of the primary reasons that Researchers are looking to integrate blockchain technology into the energy sector is to eliminate unnecessary waste of energy. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 61-86% of all energy that is consumed is wasted, which accounts for approximately $130 billion annually.

LO3 Energy is the first company that has actively worked towards integrating blockchain technology into the energy sector, through their Brooklyn Microgrid that serves homes across three major towns of Brooklyn, NY. By working closely with local leaders of the community and energy partners, the Brooklyn Microgrid connects approximately 50 homes in these areas that are equipped with solar panels3.

With each home equipped with a smart meter that runs on blockchain technology, consumers are in agreement in a “smart contract” that allows neighbors to buy and sell their locally generated green energy. Not only has the Brooklyn Grid reduced consumer costs and encouraged the use of clean and renewable energy options, it has also provided an immediate response during emergency situations and power outages.

The success of the Brooklyn Microgrid has inspired LO3 Energy to develop two other projects that are focused on the local generation of renewable and efficient energy to be shared on a cryptographically secure network. These projects include TransActive Grid, which caters towards connecting the energy used by businesses of New York, and Project Exergy, which is a research and development effort by LKO3 Energy to transform the energy that is often wasted by computers into a primary source of thermal energy for heating homes and buildings3.

Image Credit:

PushishImages/ Shutterstock.com

References:

  1. “How does Bitcoin work?” – Bitcoin
  2. “Beyond bitcoin” – Deloitte University Press
  3. “Projects” – LO3 Energy

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

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