According to a report published on January 7, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it has invested $4.8 million for academic research of technologies such as Blockchain (a distributed, encrypted, and secure database). The DOE fossil energy office announced this investment.
United States Department of Energy is among the departments of the U.S. federal government cabinet which oversees the area of energy and safety in working with nuclear materials. Among the responsibilities of this department are the nuclear weapons program of the country, developing nuclear reactors for U.S. Navy, sustaining energy, research, and study in the area of energy, nuclear waste disposal, and developing domestic energy; it directs research in this area too.
The blockchain is a distributed and encrypted database. Therefore, no one is able to manipulate the history of transactions, and this history is transparently available to users. One of the known applications of Blockchain are cryptocurrencies which are founded on this infrastructure. This technology provides security in encrypted currencies. The first cryptocurrency based on Blockchain that was introduced to the market was “Bitcoin.”
The distributed and encrypted infrastructure of Blockchain has four main advantages:
• Not being controlled by any institution or person
• Impossible to face failure and cessation
• Recording transactions in a connected network of all users. Therefore, in order to change a part of Blockchain, the transactions of all users in the network should be changed which is not practical.
• The necessity of manipulating the whole network in case of the need to manipulate Blockchain information
This budget is allotted to develop the next generation of science and engineering professions in energy fossil sector. The main idea behind it is that investment can explore methods to reduce costs and fossil fuels carbon emission. Projects that meet requirements for this budget are those that research in the areas of newfound technologies like Blockchain, decentralized systems, and Internet P2P (peer-to-peer) protocols to protect the data of fossil energy production sensors.
Developed systems might be used in fossil-fuel-based energy production systems, and other unidentified information flows in the distributed network of a sensor.
U.S. Department of Energy said that it expects to choose 12 projects to advance budget allotment.
This is not the first time DOE has shown interest in Blockchain technology. In January 2018, this department announced that it has granted $95 million to a number of different states; one of these was Grid 7 Blockchain startup in the state of Colorado (one of the American Southwest states) which received the allotted budget. This startup is interested in developing decentralized energy grids.
According to a report by Cointelegraph news website published in December, Spanish renewable energies company Acciona Energia, which is known as the biggest renewable energy operator in the world, claimed that it has used Blockchain technology to trace electricity production.
Spanish renewable energies company Acciona Enrgia, which is part of the Spanish conglomerate Acciona, is active in the area of developing renewable energies like solar energy, thermal energy, etc. Acciona is dedicated to construction, design, engineering structures, and infrastructures.
This company was founded through the merger of Entrecanales Tavora and Cubiertas companies in 1997. The headquarters of Acciona is located in the autonomous community of Madrid. Moreover, its international office is located in Chicago, Illinois in the U.S.
Also, last December a news piece was published saying that South Korea will spend $3.5 million to construct a virtual power plant based on Blockchain technology in the second most populated city of this country, Bausan. The aim of constructing this plant is to merge the unused capacities of hybrid energy resources to optimize energy production.
Multiple available Data indicate that more than ever, people have gotten aware of Blockchain and cryptocurrency (encrypted currency which is also known as virtual currency, electronic money, and currency crypto). Reddit is one of the most visited websites in the world with more than 300 million regular users.
The Bitcoin (a kind of digital currency based on Blockchain) section of this website has recently reached one million users which despite the drop in Bitcoin price has achieved a new level of interest.
Mostly the youth are interested in obtaining information about digital currencies and Blockchain. To understand this point better, consider the fact that in 2014, only 35 students had signed up for a course focused on Blockchain. However, in the year 2017, this number rose by 500 percent and more than 200 students reportedly signed up for this class. Massachusetts Institute of Technology which is one of the largest universities worldwide has also offered a course on Blockchain technology.
Blockchain and Its Effect on Environment
Some truly believe that an emerging technology like Blockchain can clearly reduce the negative effects mankind has had on the environment. In fact, some projects have been started that specifically explore how Blockchain can help global sustainability.
Of course, there are some answers as to how this would happen; the first answer is that Blockchain is a decentralized method to store data which can help with environmental waste from the bureaucratic mechanism of large institutions. One of the most obvious methods is the fact that Blockchain can improve the transparency and traceability of the supply chain which greatly helps reduce the costs of transportation and carbon emissions from an organization. Furthermore, the unalterable nature of Blockchain can increase the accountability toward the environment.