Fujitsu Uses Blockchain Technology to Launch New Energy Trading System

by | Jan 30, 2019

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Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. have applied blockchain technology to develop a system for trading related to energy shortages and surpluses among electricity consumers, including factories and retail stores.

Demand response (DR) is a scheme in which electric utilities and consumers of electricity cooperate to control the amount of electricity used during periods of expected peak demand. An issue, however, is that the success rate for DR controls can be low, with consumers being unable to meet the amount of power savings requested by electric utilities.

Fujitsu has now devised a system in which electricity consumers can efficiently exchange among themselves the electricity surpluses they have produced through their own electricity generation or power savings. The company then applied blockchain, and with the cooperation of ENERES Co., Ltd., the system was used in a simulation using the actual data of electricity consumption. The result was an approximately 40% improvement to the DR success rate.

Improvement of the DR control success rate is expected to lead to more consumers participating in DR schemes. Moreover, this will enable the stable supply of electricity and the expansion of renewable energy use, another goal of the DR scheme. Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories will carry out further system verification and strive to build a carbon-free society.

Development Background

Demand response has been in the spotlight as renewable energies and other initiatives are being put in place to develop a carbon-free society. DR, in which electric utilities and electricity consumers cooperate to control the amount of electricity use, aims to reduce electricity consumption, particularly at peak times when shortages of electricity supply are expected, by paying compensation to electricity consumers who contributed to power savings.

In practice, DR is arranged so that an aggregator, who receives the request for power savings from the electric utility and controls the amount of each consumer’s power savings, acts as the middleman, and assigns an amount of the consumer’s power savings. When the amount of power savings requested is achieved, the aggregator receives remuneration from the electric utility.

The aggregator also distributes the remuneration to contributing consumers based on the amount of the power savings they achieved. However, consumers are sometimes unable to meet the request from the aggregator, due to shortages in the electricity produced when they operate their own generator or due to sudden spikes in their energy consumption, so there are cases of consumers being unable to receive compensation.

In order to realize a carbon-free society, it is important to increase the success rate of DR, which indicates the ratio of consumers who are compensated for achieving their power savings targets. It is also essential to secure an investment effect when consumers have joined the DR scheme and to increase the number of participants.

Developed Technology

Fujitsu Laboratories has applied blockchain technologies it has developed to create a system of exchange in which electricity consumers who have contracted with an aggregator can exchange amounts of power-saving among consumers.

With DR, it is sometimes necessary to quickly respond to the aggregator about whether power savings can be achieved. Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a technology that first calculates the total amount of electricity that can be offered from the sell orders registered on the exchange system, and determines which buy orders can be settled quickly, in turn, for the quantities that can be purchased. As a result, the technology makes it possible to quickly reply about whether power savings targets can be met. The company also developed a technology that optimizes pairing exchange orders, so that, after the response, required sell orders are distributed to the completed buy orders without waste.

This two-phased electricity exchange technology (patent pending) is built on blockchain, which guarantees the transparency of recorded exchange transaction results. This enables the accurate distribution of remuneration based on the transaction results of finalized selling and buying-the amount of power savings. With this exchange system, even when the requested amount of power savings is difficult to achieve, a consumer can quickly purchase the surplus electricity of another consumer to supplement its own power savings goals, leading to the more reliable achievement of the targets.

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