Pylon – a transactive blockchain platform for the energy sector

The Pylon blockchain under development is aimed to support new energy sector business models to integrate decentralised renewable energies.
Published: Mon 09 Jul 2018

Among the plethora of new startups developing blockchain platforms and applications is Spain and Denmark-based Klenergy, which has been operating largely in stealth mode as it builds what it calls “the first blockchain designed for the specific needs of the energy sector”.

The issues are well known. Speed, scalability and the energy requirements associated to the ‘proof of work’ algorithms, used by the popular Ethereum platform and notably Bitcoin, are the main ones, demanding options that are both less energy intensive while also offering at least near real time functionality across for example the customer base of a large utility.

Like the Energy Web Foundation, which has garnered wide industry support as it seeks to develop a sector specific platform, Klenergy’s approach is to endeavour to overcome these challenges with the goal, as CEO Gerard Bel puts it, to “promote the deployment of renewable energy resources”.

Gerard Bel, CEO, Klenergy, describes the Pylon network architecture. 

Blockchain platform architecture

Bel in a presentation at the inaugural Engerati Meet on Transactive Energy describes the Pylon solution as a “neutral datahub that allows all stakeholders to interconnect without altering the current market infrastructure.”

He says that the blockchain platform has been designed for the specific needs of the energy sector, offering high speed transactions, the presence of federated nodes that allow different permissions for different players, non-competitive mining and low energy requirements.

To achieve this, technologies including Segwit anf Digishield have been included to improve the flexibility and security and the Atomic Swaps and Lightning network protocols are being employed to improve the transaction speed and scalability.

“To enable the real-time aggregation of all these distributed assets, we have identified the figure of the aggregator who will need the real-time data from customers to offer services to the grid,” Bel says. “All the energy players together with the aggregator will help the market to reduce the impact of distributed resources and improve grid flexibility.”

Status of the Pylon platform development

Utility project partners

Bel says that Klenergy is working with various partners to develop the platform, including the Basque energy cooperative GoiEner. Its blockchain software has been integrated into energy monitoring devices from various manufacturers, including Smappee, eGEO, Smilics and Mirubee and storage from Ampere Energy.

Currently, the platform is in the first phase of use with 100 GoiEner customers, with the aim to validate the system between the retailer and end user. Specific points include the impact of multi-point power purchase agreements programmed on smart contracts, the possibility of controlling the real-time demand and the impact of the daily payment option with electronic currency.

The goal is to increase the number of users up to 100,000 before moving into the second, commercial, phase in which the interaction between the aggregator and retailers will be validated, with the demonstration of business opportunities such as grid balancing, demand response and quality of service.

“In that stage, we will focus on the UK and California markets where we have established relationships,” he says. “We are confident we will achieve our targets and will then continue integrating into the platform distribution and transmission system operators.”  

In conclusion, Bel says that simulations are now available online and via smartphone apps.

“Users can now see easily what is going on on their phone. Now as a consumer you can see who produced the energy you are consuming and have easy access to your data.”