On the IOTA blog, Harm van den Brink discussed a proof of concept they had built for a smart self-balancing grid using IOTA.
Letting Devices Take Responsibility
The proof of concept designed by den Brink lets devices connected to a smart grid “decide if they want to help balance or not” and if they do they will receive a small reward.
However, this is done free from human interaction, and just by the system itself autonomously. The smart grid can achieve this by sharing data securely using IOTA.
The PoC was built by den Brink, along with Klaas van Zuuren, Ton Smets and the teams at Enexis and ElaadNL. Den Brink has previously worked on an electric vehicle charger using IOTA for payments and the first IOTA smart charging station in the world.
IOTA states that grids currently do not face an energy shortage issue. The issue is that most of the energy is used at the same time of the day and a grid is not able to handle it.
To manage this problem, the IOTA charge stations could connect to a vehicle as well as the grid via machine to machine communication.
The blog states:
“The grid in our case will be all connecting devices to a certain part of the grid, and the transformer supplying energy to that part of the grid. Usually a transformer has 1 feeding cable and multiple outgoing cables, to each outgoing cable multiple homes and other devices (like public charging stations) are connected.”
The grid transformer which supplies electricity to all devices can detect when power is being used in excess and can send messages to all devices using the energy to lower their demand.
It will be up to the devices to follow the request, and if they do, they will be paid by the system in IOTA coins. Hence the development of a self-balancing grid with communicating smart devices that are incentivized to behave a certain way.
Autonomy- the Greatest Challenge
Den Brink claims that the greatest challenge in creating this system was providing full grid autonomy. He said that creating an ideal grid with the PoC model was not possible.
“We created a demonstrator that has a few actors and is able to manage usage on a small scale. It incorporates the thoughts mentioned earlier and showed the true power of a self-balancing grid.”
He went on to talk about grids that are free for everyone and make users pay only when they cross a threshold in the network.
A full explanation of the system with smart grids and smart charging stations is available on his blog on Medium.