US DOE grants $1.05M for blockchain-based energy platform

On Friday, it was announced that the United States Department of Energy (DOE) had awarded a $1.05 million to four separate recipient organizations to create blockchain-based technology that will be used for commercialized transactive energy platform. The four groups will include the University of Denver, Virginia Tech, BEM controls, as well as ComEd.

It is the DOE’s Office of Science that is specifically partnering with the two universities, an energy company, and software firm to develop the blockchain technology that will “enhance building energy management and benefits to occupants.“ All four organizations are thrilled to be a part of this new venture. According to a press release issued by BEM:

“The BEM Controls software incorporates time-based energy management and control of interior spaces in buildings to achieve greater energy efficiency, reliability, and resiliency. ComEd will use its Grid of the Future Lab to demonstrate the functionality of the system, which will be developed over three years.”

ComEd President and COO Terry Donnelly described the project as an “extremely important,“ saying, “Energy management technology has the potential to make a very positive impact on the environments in which we live and work. ComEd’s Grid of the Future lab will play an important role in advancing the science in this field and support our efforts to deliver a premier customer experience.”

Added Dr. Amin Kohdaeci, Chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Denver, “The growing proliferation of distributed energy resources calls for advanced management frameworks that support peer-to-peer communications while being fast, scalable and secure. Now is the time to develop and demonstrate the technologies that can make a more sustainable and resilient future possible.”

Prof. Saifur Rahman will lead the team from Virginia Tech. He is the director of the Advanced Research Institute at the school.

It appears that the DOE is looking to expand the use of blockchain technology beyond this platform. The use of this technology is seen to have great application for energy grids, as the department has set aside $4.8 million in funding for research specifically designed to use blockchain in securing the data from fossil power generation sensors.

It is expected that the collaboration between the four organizations and the DOE will create a platform that is ready for operation within three years.

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