In late 2016, we started developing a blockchain system for our Verv hub that could completely revolutionise the energy industry as it stands. The system, based around our patented artificial intelligence technology is set to put energy trading into the hands of the consumer for the first time.
Fast forward 8 months and we’re excited to have received the utmost validation for our project in the form of a grant totalling £215k from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial strategy’s Energy Entrepreneur’s fund that will allow us to build a complete proof of concept in the UK for our peer-to-peer energy trading system using blockchain, based on homes with solar panels and battery storage.
This will be brought to life by a full scale simulation, with data captured from real homes using our existing Verv technology, which can identify the power usage of individual appliances in the home using artificial intelligence.
This knowledge, mapped against behavioural trends such as when appliances are usually used, is how we use machine learning to predict what energy is going to be needed for a home, in advance, to get the best possible price from the grid. It will also pull in environmental factors such as the weather, using satellite data from cloud cover and opacity to predict how much solar power is going to be generated for a home with that energy source.
It’s this advanced monitoring that can anticipate the demand and calculate the supply to enable peer-to-peer trading, completely disrupting the way in which the energy industry currently works.
In addition to the grant, and having patented the peer-to-peer energy trading process, including our artificial intelligence based predictions, from start to finish, we have brought on board a PHD student in collaboration with UCL and their Blockchain department headed by David Shipworth, to join our existing blockchain team and continue with us on our journey.
Having participated in a number of innovation trials involving battery storage and microgeneration, we’ve witnessed first-hand both residents’ enthusiasm for renewable technologies such as solar PV, and some of the challenges preventing uptake. These include high upfront costs and inhibiting optimal usage, with a lot of households only consuming 30% of their onsite microgeneration.
We believe that a blockchain based peer-to-peer energy trading system can change this.
Our ultimate vision is for homes to be able to generate enough electricity to power themselves through renewable energy and local battery storage, and then have the opportunity to sell any excess energy directly to their neighbours – empowering consumers to become true ‘prosumers’.