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DOE Awards Grant to Advance “Energy Internet”

Blockchains expected to enhance security, support use of renewable energy

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science recently awarded a $1.05-million grant to ComEd, the University of Denver, Virginia Tech, and software specialist BEM Controls to create an energy Internet that will enhance building energy management and benefits to occupants.

The award provides funding to commercialize a blockchain-based transactive energy platform developed by BEM Controls with funding from the DOE. Blockchains use multiple servers that operate like decentralized record-keeping and verification systems. They are seen as a promising solution for energy companies bringing more distributed energy resources (DER) onto their systems and creating marketplaces offering an array of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and innovative energy services. The BEM Controls software incorporates time-based energy management and control of interior spaces in buildings to achieve greater energy efficiency, reliability, and resiliency. ComEd will use its Grid of the Future Lab to demonstrate the functionality of the system, which will be developed over three years.

“The growing proliferation of distributed energy resources calls for advanced management frameworks that support peer-to-peer communications while being fast, scalable, and secure,” says Dr. Amin Khodaei, Chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Denver. “Now is the time to develop and demonstrate the technologies that can make a more sustainable and resilient future possible.”

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