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Chinese researchers develop a blockchain-based electricity exchange

Researchers at China’s Fudan University have developed a decentralized exchange through which citizens could trade electricity through a digital currency.

Call it a power play, but researchers from China’s Fudan University have now officially unveiled a patent application detailing a decentralized electricity exchange which could allow parties to trade unused electricity without a middleman.

The patent outlines a system wherein power sellers and buyers are assigned as network nodes, and can broadcast requests for electricity purchases or sales. Smart contracts subsequently connect a request and then perform transactions.

In the paper, the researchers elucidate that solar power is frequently generated in excess of demand in certain regions – explaining that “Households then have no other choices but to let the unused solar power go to waste because they don’t have a direct way of exchanging electricity.”

The patent describes that a digital currency could be used to transfer electricity supply between buyers and sellers on the network – elaborating that “this idea can be achieved in either a public, private or a consortium blockchain. And in this case, the system has been developed on IBM’s Hyperledger platform as well as the Ethereum blockchain, to make electricity tradeable and shareable within a community”.

If the news sounds familiar, Power Ledger investors may recall that the Australian government announced last year that it will set aside some $8 million AUD in grants for the development of a new Blockchain-powered smart utilities project.

At the time, Power Ledger confirmed that the pilot will explore how cities can use blockchain technology to power distributed energy systems.

While it remains to be seen what apparatus might bring Fudan University’s patent to life (if, at all), the Australian government resolved to develop low-cost systems using leveraging a solar photovoltaic plant, rooftop solar panels, a precinct-size battery, an electric vehicle charge station, and a precinct water treatment and capture system as part of its bid.