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Research project on the digitization of the energy system


December 8, 2020
The future of energy supply is decentralized. Millions of photovoltaic systems, heat pumps or electric vehicles will actively coordinate power supply and consumption. How can the safety and reliability of this process be guaranteed? This is the focus of a research project initiated by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena), an agency for applied energy transition. The project involves 21 partners from industry and science, including Jacobs University Bremen. Marius Buchmann is leading the project on part of the international university.

Marius Buchmann is the project manager of the "Bremen Energy Research" working group at Jacobs University. (Source: Foto Ventura, Stefanie Peters)

Many producers, a wide variety of energy sources, millions of consumers: the energy system of the future is complex. An automated, digital and forgery-proof authentication of the individual systems is a fundamental prerequisite for the digital processes. This simplifies the coordination of actors and devices. "After all, I want to know reliably whether the green electricity I draw actually comes from the supplier, for example my neighbor, and whether it has enough capacity to supply me at all," Buchmann said.

The scientist is the project manager of the "Bremen Energy Research" working group at Jacobs University. It deals with the economic aspects of energy policy. "Our task in this project is to provide economic and scientific support and evaluate the various technologies," Buchmann explained. How high are the costs of implementation? What regulatory effort is involved? These questions are reviewed.

To identify the electricity producers, dena is testing a "machine identity ledger", a digital and decentralized directory of device identities based on blockchain technology. A blockchain is a continuously expandable list of encrypted data records, which are linked to each other. It allows information to be transmitted tamper-proofed using a decentralized database shared by subscribers. The basis of this innovative approach in the project is the intelligent measuring system "smart meter gateway", which is currently being introduced in Germany. Based on this system, the machine identity ledger will establish a chain of trust to simplify digital coordination in the energy system.

The 21 partners in the project include groups such as EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg, players in the digital sector and start-ups specializing in blockchain technology. "The project takes an important step towards developing digital business models in the decentralized energy system. Being involved in it will bring us many exciting new insights," Buchmann said.

Questions are answered by:
Dr. Marius Buchmann
Project Manager Bremen Energy Research
Tel: +49 421 200-4868
Email: m.buchmann [at]