Lition Blockchain Envisions Smart Cities and the Green Energy Revolution

The project creates a blockchain-based platform system to connect energy consumers directly to green energy producers and integrate smart technologies into existing infrastructures in cities.

The world is quickly becoming more urbanized, with 60% of the global population projected to reside in cities by 2050. Urban expansion puts extra pressures on cities and their infrastructures, while reliance on outdated electric grid systems is one of the greatest burdens faced by the cities today. Many jurisdictions are already planning for future green energy delivery solutions in the form of “smart grid” technology. In 2016, spending on digital city technology amounted to $80 billion and was forecasted to grow to $400 billion by 2020.

Cities across the globe team up with corporations such as Panasonic, Google, and start-ups like Lition to co-develop Smart City solutions. A smart city offers two-way communications via IoT sensors and AI technology to link buildings, streets, sidewalks, and other components of an urban center, and uses the collected data to address the needs of citizens and visitors. A smart ecosystem connects all layers of a city, from the air on the street to underground sewage and water services.

Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency is one of the critical aspects of smart city innovation. In Europe, for example, the European Technology Platform (ETP) Smart Grids initiative directs vision and strategy for European green energy delivery via smart electricity networks. They aim to create an electrical infrastructure that can sustain economic growth, integrate renewable energy sources and reduce urban environmental impact. A smart grid’s two-way communication capability between a utility and its customers will allow the former to adjust precisely for consumer demand.

As it is necessary to calibrate power loads and usage to meet constantly-changing power needs, even a local event can cause a catastrophic widespread power interruption. In 2003, for instance, a software bug caused a massive power outage in the northeastern region of the United States that left 10 million people in Canada without power for three days. Smart grids will allow to avoid such interruptions, and make power sources more reliable, and fault.

Entrepreneur and energy technology researcher Dr. Richard Lohwasser believes it’s the time to start deploying smart systems in large cities that lack robust electric grid infrastructure and to integrate smart technologies into existing infrastructures in cities with smart systems. He says that the fastest way to do this is to incorporate smart meters into the existing system.

Dr. Lohwasser is CEO of Germany-based Lition, a blockchain-driven platform that connects consumers directly with green energy producers. It is the first company in Germany that introduced a peer-to-peer renewable energy exchange platform. The platform has been rolled out in 11 German cities and is available to 41 million households.

Dr. Lohwasser says that inefficiency and other problems cripple the current electric delivery grid system.

“Green energy buyers never really know what they’re purchasing, because the systems are too complex and lack transparency. Even dirty coal-generated energy can be packaged as ‘green’ to a consumer, who never knows the provenance of their energy supply. Blockchain technology deals with all these issues, allowing consumers to buy energy from suppliers they trust. Just as important, smart meter technology allows consumers to take advantage of cheaper energy during off-peak times. These benefits put a consumer in the driver’s seat when it comes to energy consumption,” he argues.

Smart meters are connected to the internet via a consumer’s WiFi; they disaggregate energy flows to identify household appliances and their usage. All household appliances can communicate with Liton’s Smart Energy App, providing information on how much energy they consume, and when. With Lition’s Smart Energy App, families and business owners can now keep track of all their appliances, see which ones are currently running and get statistics about their energy usage and recommendations to save energy.

Additionally, the platform runs on blockchain, which ensures full transparency and allows users to see exactly where their energy is coming from and how it was produced. Meanwhile, energy providers can make use of the same data to make special time-based offers to customers who may choose to use certain appliances at “off-peak” times.

Smart City neighborhoods are popping up all over the world; however, existing cities need to renovated as well. Blockchain technology and smart meter integration seem to be a perfect fit for a sustainable future. A company like Lition can deploy these innovative solutions for today’s cities while also building a system that will be able to integrate into smart cities in the future, facilitating the delivery of reliable, cost-effective renewable energy, and alleviating the environmental impact of urbanization worldwide.