InDEED - Design, implementation and evaluation of an energy industry data platform based on block chain for the use cases "labeling" and "asset logging"

The InDEED research project aims to implement the concept of a distributed data platform on a block chain basis for applications in the energy industry both in practice and in theoretical scientific evaluation. The focus is on analyses of potentials, system repercussions, changed value creation structures and value propositions as well as scalability.

In terms of content, the project concentrates on the two application areas "labeling of energy flows" and "asset logging", which were identified in the preliminary R&D project B10X. For this purpose, plants and end consumers will be connected to a platform to be developed in cooperation with the project partners in the field and the results will be evaluated in scientific analyses. Through the practical implementation, experiences, data and results can be generated with as many heterogeneous participants, technologies and fields of application as possible and thus potentials can be determined.

In the context of the project, "labeling" is understood to mean the clear, transparent and tamper-proof digital representation of injection, withdrawal and storage as well as their temporal and spatial connection under consideration of physical boundary conditions. Applications in the context of labeling include the spatially and temporally high-resolution proof of green and regional electricity, regional direct marketing and cross-sectoral guarantees of origin. 

The documentation of plants ("asset logging") comprises the collection of operating, maintenance and repair data of (energy industry) plants by means of measuring systems, testing bodies or other appropriate sources. The tamper-proof and time-discrete storage and processing of the recorded data of individual equipment enables a wide range of applications. These range from the transparent provision of information for reselling processes to warranty and liability certificates and internal process optimization (predictive maintenance).

Figure 1 shows the conceptual structure of the planned "Distributed Energy Data Platform."


Structure of a blockchain based distributed energy data plattform

Figure 1: Structure of a Blockchain-based Distributed Energy Data Platform

Blockchain technology offers a distributed database structure with mechanisms to ensure resistance to manipulation, thus creating the possibility of implementing platforms that are equally accessible to all players. This makes it possible not to leave data-based value creation to individual market-dominating monopolists, but to design it in a decentralized way, just like the energy turnaround, and to allow small players to participate in digital value creation

Research questions

The focus of the project is the development of methods and models, among other things, to address the selected, subsequent research questions:

  • Which use cases from the application fields "Labeling" and "Asset Logging" can be realized on the platform?
  • How is the theoretical, technical, economic and practical potential of the use cases in Germany to be evaluated?
  • What are the energy industry requirements for an energy data platform based on block chain technology?
  • How do digital platforms change the value creation in the energy industry?
  • Which practical obstacles stand in the way of implementation? What recommendations for action can be derived from this?
  • What are the requirements and challenges for the programming and scalability of the platform? (edited by the University of Bayreuth)
  • How can the platform be scaled? (edited by the University of Bayreuth)
  • What is the legal framework for platform-based applications in the energy sector and which possible obstacles as well as options for action can be identified for the considered use cases? (processed by the Stiftung Umweltenergierecht (Foundation for Environmental Energy Law))

Project structure

The following figure 2 shows the five subprojects in which the project is structured:

InDEED Project structure

Figure 2: InDEED project-structure

The project is based on a transdisciplinary research approach from the energy industry, information technology, and law and regulation. The consortium is divided into research partners with different focuses (FfE e. V., FfE GmbH, University of Bayreuth and Stiftung Umweltenergierecht). Furthermore, associated partners with different competences and focal points along the entire energy industry value chain are involved in the project and support the project with financial contributions, expert knowledge and practical field experience.

The role of the FfE e. V. in the project

In the project, the FfE e.V. is primarily concerned with the development of methods and models for designing digital and decentralized energy industry platforms and evaluating them from different perspectives. The fields of activity are in the energy industry elaboration and conception of the data platform and the use cases to be realized on it. In addition, FfE e.V. takes over the evaluation of framework conditions and the assessment of potentials of the platform and use cases up to the preparation and monitoring of the implementation. Furthermore, the focus of the activities is on answering a variety of research questions around the topics included in the project by means of models, data evaluation and scientific methods.

The topic areas are diverse and range from the digitization of the energy industry (including smart meter rollout), aspects of platform economics, the resulting changes in value creation and demands on participating actors, to the potential assessment of selected use cases and their synergy potential on digital platforms.

In addition to the scientific activities, the FfE e.V. acts as an interface between all actors and takes over the joint project management, coordination and implementation of workshops.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) (funding code: 03E16026A).


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