Enabling Local Peer-to-Peer Energy Markets

Design, Implementation and Evaluation of a Blockchain-based Microgrid Platform

Quartierstrom - Switzerland's first local Energy Market

This research project by the Bosch IoT Lab is part of the lighthouse project of the Bundesamt für Energy (Federal Ministry for Energy) ”Quartierstrom” (German for district power). We are building a decentralized electricity market where solar energy can be sold from neighbour to neighbour using blockchain technology. To secure future energy supply, generation of electricity is more and more dependend on renewable resources. A shift from big power plants to many small and often private producers decentralizes the energy market. It is now technically and economically feasible for home-owners to place solar panels on their roofs and produce energy not only for themselves but for their neighbours.

We implement a blockchain based trading system with more than 30 participating households in the village of Walenstadt in Switzerland. The project pools the participating consumers and prosumers as a coalition for self-consumption and the local utility provides the distribution grid as an asset and supplies the community if it cannot supply itself with locally produced solar energy. For internal balancing the project implements a local energy market between peers and in particular treats the utility company as a local market participant just like a large prosumer.

For further information please visit www.quartier-strom.ch.
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Video: Quartierstrom - Intro to Architecture & Mechanisms

Preliminary work: LokalPower - assessing the potential of microgrid platform data
In a preceding project, conducted with a Swiss energy retailer, we explored the possibilities of displaying transactional energy data. A microgrid system built on Blockchain technology, like the Quartierstrom platform, removes the dependency on utility companies, and provides transparency on the sources of consumed energy. These systems could reliably and accurately inform participants of their energy usage and the self-sufficiency of the community. However, such a system naturally has a high number of transactions between multiple participants and continuously evolves throughout time. This complexity introduces significant challenges for users and severely limits acceptance of the technology. To help tackle this problem, break the barrier to wider technology adoption, and develop a private consumption community, we strive to answer the following research questions:
  • RQ1: Is there a consumer demand for the sourcing of local electrical energy, i.e. similar to renewable energy demand?
  • RQ2: Can information technology foster the understanding of produc- tion and consumption of energy and build trust in local and renewable energy resources?
  • RQ3: What are potential barriers to a trusted and open energy market and how can these be overcome by technology?
 
The research paper can be found here https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3170427.3188610

 

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Video: LokalPower - Introduction to Graphs and Functions

Research Publications

Team

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Arne Meeuw
Research Associate & PhD Candidate
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Dr. Felix Wortmann
Assistant Professor of Technology Management
Office 1-207
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Timo Gessmann
Director Bosch IoT Lab