Proof of Concept of Autonomous Self-Balancing Power Grid using IOTA

ElaadNL, the smart charging infrastructure lab founded by Dutch grid operators, has devised a Proof of Concept (PoC) that demonstrates how smart grids can autonomously balance energy consumption using IOTA technology. The PoC created at the ElaadNL test lab in Arnhem together with grid operator Enexis, shares data securely via the IOTA Tangle and lets the charging devices themselves decide if they want to help balance grid load or not. By charging electric vehicles at a slower speed or at an off-peak time, the charging stations earn a small fee in IOTA tokens. The system runs itself – no human interaction is needed.

A presentation about this energy balancing PoC by Harm van den Brink and Ton Smets (both ElaadNL) at the Dutch IOTA meet-up on January the 10th in Amsterdam is available on Youtube.

This Grid Uses IOTA Tangle Technology For Machine to Machine (M2M) Communication; Machines Pay Each other in Tokens as Incentive to Comply

The grid in this PoC will connect all devices to a particular area of the grid, along with the transformer supplying energy. Transformers typically have one feeding cable and multiple outgoing cables connecting multiple homes and other devices, like charging stations for electric vehicles. If a cable reaches its limit, or the sum of the cables exceeds what the transformer can deliver, the transformer can request all connected devices to lower their energy demands. The devices can choose to follow that direction or not, as they are totally free. The incentive to comply is the small fee for reducing demand. If one or more devices lowers its energy usage, they receive a few tokens of the IOTA cryptocurrency. As a result, a self-balancing grid of smart devices communicating with each other outside of human interaction is created.

Harm van den Brink DLT expert at ElaadNL and Enexis: “This proof of concept shows a possible future electricity system, where energy is shared amongst neighbours and decentralised islands are capable of balancing itself. We are using our electricity grid in total different way than we did 50 years ago, we went from only consuming to also producing energy. We are demanding more energy at peak times, and when the sun is shining we will have a surplus of energy. This all should be dealt with in real time. Our solution is a first step in to that direction. We showed with our proof of concept that this can be done, although future development is required to actually put this in the grid.

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