Heriot-Watt scientists claim that blockchain "has great potential in the energy sector"

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University have published what is being published as one of the first unbiased and important reviews of the blockchain that have discovered that technology has great potential in the energy sector.

The new document published in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review examines how the different competing technologies are fulfilling their promises.

Examines the results of over 140 projects, start-ups and initiatives in this sector. It covers all areas of blockchain in energy, from the energy models of the transactive community, to the balancing and trading of emission certificates.

He said that the interest in blockchain technologies in the energy sector has skyrocketed in recent years, with rapid developments and significant private and public investments in projects at all stages of the cycle of maturity, technological development and user experiments on actual implementations.

In its simplest form, he said that blockchain is a ledger that can securely store digital transactions without the need for a central point of authority and can be shared on a computer network. Once a block is added to the chain, it is difficult to change it, making the ledger safe without a central authority.

Blockchains have been used for some time to support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but interest in blockchains in energy systems is a more recent development.

A growing number of industrial and academic projects have focused on the role that blockchain technology can play in building the most resilient and decentralized energy systems of tomorrow.

The dott. Valentin Robu, an associate professor at the University of Heriot-Watt, said: "Blockchains are often described as promising to allow a more decentralized and transactive energy system.

"If we are able to allow energy generation and use them locally, this could allow system operators to reduce costly network reinforcements, and make local communities more self-sufficient and resistant to external power shocks.

"In energy applications, blockchains are often used in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as multi-agent systems and machine learning, which enable intelligent micro-contracts and local energy exchanges. enable construction systems and energy service providers to identify consumer energy models and develop energy products tailored to the needs of individual consumers ".

Merlinda Andoni, an associate researcher at Heriot-Watt University, added: "Energy systems are about to enter the digitization era as more and more homes install smart meters and smart devices, and system operators adopt more and more information and communication technologies (ICT).

"Blockchain could potentially be used for the automatic and secure communication of such intelligent devices that would further facilitate intelligent grid applications and decarbonisation of the energy sector."

But researchers warn that blockchain technologies face many problems before they get greater adoption, including legal and regulatory challenges, the security and scalability of computing, as well as privacy issues.

Other emerging issues in transitional energy models refer to the need to account for the costs of managing physical infrastructure and ensuring system stability and the role that system operators will play in a more decentralized energy world.

Scientists were working for the UK National Research Center for the integration of energy systems.

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