We are standing at a crossroads in the history of electric utilities. For decades, the structure of energy providers has revolved around centralised systems of generation, storage and distribution. However, the increasing environmental concerns, global technology developments and ever-growing consumer roles in energy production and distribution have challenged this centralised model.
Today, more than ever, blockchain-enabled distributed energy resources, such as photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar panels and microgrids that transform consumers into active participants of the electricity system, are thriving. Still, this shift from the dominant centralised energy system with a small number of bulk producers to a decentralised renewable system with a multiway flow of information requires not only new entities and business models but new technological solutions as well.
RIDDLE&CODE laid the foundation for accelerating the future of decentralised energy marketplace by introducing the Trusted Gateway.
At the core of the Trusted Gateway is the Secure Element. The Secure Element 2.0 is part of RIDDLE&CODE’s “Built for Blockchain” product range, which enables the secure storage of the digital identity (private key) on any given device through a combination of hardware and software. The Secure Element is embedded into a certified Trusted Gateway device along with a secure software stack that is integrated to create and verify the integrity and unique identity of the physical objects. In addition, generic middleware is developed to orchestrate the communication between crypto hardware and distributed ledgers.
By providing this secure public key infrastructure to a physical object, the Trusted Gateway:
- solves the problem of machine identity, creating a unique, cryptographically secured digital representation of a physical object and assigning it with identity, addressability and transaction capabilities;
- provides all necessary features to turn each connected device into a wallet, enabling the sending and receiving of funds and interoperability with various ledger systems;
- secures all stored and in-transit data;
- guarantees the provenance of the data and the goods produced by the physical object; and
- secures communication with any other device.
- RIDDLE&CODE Secure Element
- EDGE Edition (for IoT applications)
- ARM Cortex A53 Quad Core 1.2GHz
- 1GB DDR, 4 GB eMMC onboard Flash
- Real Time Clock
- Temperature Range
- -25°C to +70°C
- 10/100 MBit Ethernet LAN Interface
- RS232 Rx / Tx,
- 2 x USB-Host
- 4G Module for multiple LTE frequencies
- Dual Band UMTS / HSDPA / HSPA + B1 / B8,
- Dual Band GSM / GPRS / EDGE 900/1800 MHz
DISTRIBUTED ENERGY SYSTEM NEEDS TO RELY ON A TRUSTED DATA SOURCE
In 2018, RIDDLE&CODE partnered with Wien Energie, Austria’s leading utility provider, to develop the trusted energy extension, a predecessor of the Trusted Gateway, that can be connected and fully integrated in an external device, in this case, a PV plant.
The same year, RIDDLE&CODE joined forces with Energias De Portugal Brasil (EDP), one of the largest Brazilian utility companies, and leveraged blockchain-backed crypto chip to simplify a highly complex settlement system for remote consumption and create a sustainable ecosystem to promote growth in the renewable energy sector.
The experience of working with these companies showed that the Trusted Gateway can transform any household, EV-charger, PV-system or battery pack into a trusted data source and a self-sovereign participant of the energy marketplace.
Let’s take a PV plant as an example and say that we want to allow micro producers to trade and exchange the value and, at the same time, ensure the provenance and volume of the energy produced. To achieve this, we need to (physically) link the Trusted Gateway to a PV plant.
The Trusted Getaway, with its cryptographic components, then assigns a unique identity to the PV plant and attests it to a blockchain, ensuring the origin and provenance of the device. Following this initial attestation, the device creates a digital twin of the PV plant and gives it ledger-agnostic settlement capabilities. Every fraction of energy produced on such a plant is recorded, signed on the device and attested to the ledger.
Correspondingly, the share of the energy produced is represented by digital tokens. Since the value of the digital asset is based on the value of the real object (in this case, the PV plant) and the produced energy, it needs the Trusted Gateway to immutably prove the identity of the PV plant and the amount of produced energy. But contrary to similar systems that base the value of tokens on arbitrary assumptions without any real reference or link to the physical realm, these tokens are based on the real assessment of the capacity and kilowatt-hour produced over the lifespan of the PV plant.
In other words, the Trusted Gateway becomes the core element of any business case based on distributed energy that:
- guarantees that green power is indeed green power;
- assures that the kW/h production per period is correct;
- connects the machine identity to other identities and system components, such as power storing batteries, as to beneficiaries of the power output;
- attests data on the blockchain, allowing completely new business cases to be built, from new investment instruments like green bonds to micro investments into power infrastructure;
- performs audits and certification in real time;
- enables more sophisticated data analytics and understanding.
ROLLING OUT THE ENERGY SOLUTION WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE
Building a business model where digital assets are based on real physical objects needs to ensure that the data generated out of the physical object are trusted, indisputable and immutable.
Bringing tokenization to the energy sector has the potential to transform how micro producers engage with utilities, to provide the necessary trust and to allow all participants in the ecosystem to monetise and benefit from the energy.
And that’s exactly what RIDDLE&CODE continues to develop: products for the new era of distributed energy that empowers utility providers to bring trust and flexibility towards local energy communities, to enable the production of renewable energy and to prepare for the token economy to come.