PONTON sees several application areas for using blockchain technology in the energy sector (find more details in Michael Merz' article here):
- Trading smart energy products: Here, prosumers, DSO, and Aggregators exchange energy that is locally produced. PONTON is partner in the highly innovative project NEW 4.0 (Norddeutsche Energiewende 4.0). Our role is here to develop a Smart Market supporting the trading of flexibility, smart balancing products, and local energy products in north Germany.
- Optimising grid management processes: PONTON develops a prototype that simulates grid-related processes which synchronise TSOs, Aggregators and DSOs. As TSO-centric balancing processes interfere with DSO-centric processes for grid management and congestion management, we are working on a radically new technology to accelerate and synchronise activities of these market partners. We will disclose further details after having finalised development in Q1/2017.
- P2P wholesale trading: PONTON has developed the Enerchain P2P trading tool which has been used as the platform for the first European energy trade over the blockchain. We are now working on next steps with market participants.
Further exciting development projects and consulting activities exist with individual clients - mainly grid operators and energy trading organisations.
PONTON is recognised as development partner for "blockchain in energy" projects that actually implement business models, tools and proofs of concept. Moreover PONTON is neutral:
- We are technology-agnostic regarding blockchain products or whether to use smart contracts or not.
- We are even blockchain agnostic - and in fact one should always test, if a "classic" way to implement a service could also do it.
- We know energy business processes for over 12 years in trading and grid management, so we help find the right link between the business model and the tech level.
- We are used to work for and to coordinate consortia such as EFETnet and EDA and we know that blockchain technology can be best levaraged if business consortia find a joint solution.
PONTON is in the right position to "blockchain the energy business"
PONTON is available also for your blockchain plans:
- Analyse technical developments in the blockchain space, i.e., be capable to understand to the pros and cons of the various products, underlying technologies, and what really remains after removing the fog of marketing.
- Analyse energy business trends, i.e., impact of renewables, the cost situation, current and future market roles and how these shift over time.
- Identify processes that will be impacted by technological improvements driven by the blockchain - and find gaps where the technology is not yet mature or focussed enough.
- Initiate the discussion of new processes with focus groups in order to draft process specifications.
- Develop a proof of concept against such a specification - the principle "seeing is believing" applies specifically in this field. Technical surprises or forgotten requirements can be best identified by running a prototype in a controlled environment.
- Implement proven processes for productive operation by involving stakeholders, early movers, and further parties that are required to let the new technology fly.
Extended usage of PONTON's WRMHL® Framework
With a growing number of blockchain projects done by PONTON, common functions that are needed for setting up consortia blockchain environments have been identitified and consolidated into a software framework, called WRMHL (speak: "wormhole"). WRMHL allows to
- Onboard and authenticate participants over the blockchain
- Allow for high-speed transactions thanks to Tendermint's short block time of one second
- Cache data stored on the blockchain in a separate database
- Switch and reconnect between system components with the possibility to automatically re-load lost transactions thus increasing application-level availability
- Identify users within participating organisations
- Use plug-ins to allocate application code on the nodes' and participants' side for a flexible distribution of application logic
- Easily deploy blockchain environments in the cloud, e.g., by distributing them across hosting environments like Amazon AWS®, Microsoft Azure® etc.