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US DOE seeks proposals exploring blockchain-based energy systems

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed that it is currently exploring new approaches to leverage blockchain or distributed ledger technology for the realization of robust fossil energy-based systems.

The Energy Department’s interest in the blockchain technology was outlined in a research area overview document published in last month. The department is seeking proposals which must include a succinct discussion of the potential technical and economic advantages of the proposed technology, as compared to existing state-of-the-art systems.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) is concentrating its 2017 Phase I SBIR-STTR effort on two areas that significantly support and enable development of several fossil energy technologies: Sensors & Controls and Advanced Manufacturing. Blockchain technology is one of the subtopics under “Sensors and Controls for Fossil Energy Applications”.

The document states:

“Proposals are sought to develop novel concepts for energy systems that rely on blockchain technology to assure robust systems that are less susceptible to cyber-attack. Direct use of real-time measurement data from sensor networks and/or “smart” components that feature embedded instrumentation or other enabling technologies that support the industrial “Internet of Things (IoT)” is strongly encouraged. Project objectives will include software development, preliminary testing to establish proof of concept, and an approach for full integration of the blockchain-based software with system hardware at lab-scale and/or pilot scale.”

Various other government departments in the US have been increasingly taking interest in the blockchain technology. In July 2016, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sought paper submissions on the topic of blockchain technology and its potential uses in the healthcare industry. More recently, the US Department of Commerce is hosted a public meeting to discuss the potential for interoperability across digital registries and also focus on emerging technologies such as blockchain technology and open source platforms.

By Shampa Mani
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