Blockchain startups tackle carbon reduction

Blockchain startups tackle carbon reduction

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Blockchain Tech News recently reported on ways that blockchain can improve access to green energy. Just as importantly, though, blockchain has the potential to reduce humankind's overall carbon footprint. For example, some startups are developing solutions to help improve carbon offset markets.

Blockchain Tech News spoke with a few startups working on green tech projects to get their perspectives:

Q: What are some blockchain use cases for green tech?

David Fragale, Co-founder, Atonomi

With improving cost and production efficiencies, renewable energy technology will continue to gain market share. As a result, assets will become more dispersed and energy production and consumption will become disintermediated as the prosumer model becomes more widespread.

This all leads to an energy market that is more resilient, lower cost, and based on abundance rather than scarcity. However, to support this model there will need to be improvements in automated production and consumption tracking, validation, payments, transparency, incentives and security.

Blockchain can help address each of these challenges and is relevant to all participants at every layer of the market. This is why we are seeing such a broad range of projects in the energy space.

 One of the most promising areas where blockchain can have a significant impact is improving carbon offset markets. Swytch, a blockchain solution for the renewable energy space, is tackling the offset market by providing trusted, real-time production data, and leveraging oracles and tokenization/smart contracts to reward carbon displacement.

This solution is made even more robust through Swytch's partnership with Atonomi to develop edge-level security and consensus protocols to reduce barriers to gathering trusted data from smart meters.

Richard Ettl, CEO and co-founder, Smart Containers Group

Smart Containers is a high-tech company that provides temperature-controlled containers for pharmaceutical and the food airfreight logistics.

From the very beginning, the company has focused on reducing their [carbon dioxide] footprint and strives to be as environmentally friendly as possible. It uses recycled PET bottles as material to build the containers, and all damaged containers are taken apart at center that offers employment to those with special needs in Switzerland. This way, most recollected parts can be reused to build new containers.

Smart Containers has built its software technology based on elements of blockchain and is moving forward to integrate its logistics processes fully on a blockchain protocol within the next one to two years. The aim is to reduce the use of paper and create more effective logistics processes. The vision is to make this system available to all logistics players through open source software.

The Logi Chain foundation will be the sentinel of this project and we will make software development available to all its members. This will lead to increasingly decentralized logistics processes (today it is highly centralized), and therefore a reduction in shipments, since it will become possible to administer even the smallest shipments at minimal cost. There is no need to pool everything together in big warehouses anymore.

Smart Containers works  in close collaboration with MyClimate and is able to issue CO2 certificates to its clients. The elements of Smart Containers Group’s business that reduce CO2 are:

  • Insulation technology made out of recycled PET bottles.
  • Passive system that is lighter than competition.
  • Blockchain technology to decentralize logistics and, therefore, reduce shipments and the use of paper.

Q: How can blockchain boost overall efficiency?

Evan Caron, Cofounder, Swytch 

Blockchain is an important part of the solution, but not the answer in and of itself. Smart combinations of blockchain and other technologies, such as smart meters and batteries, will improve overall market efficiencies. What makes blockchain so exciting is that it opens up a number of options that were previously impossible.

Take the example of Swytch, a solution for carbon markets and other renewable energy incentives. Incentive programs have been around for decades, yet the space has long been rife with fraud, and ineffective in terms of addressing the core issue of carbon emissions.

Additionally, these programs tend to be jurisdictionally specific, and relatively complex to participate in and administer. By leveraging blockchain, smart meter, and oracle technologies, Swytch is able to create a more trusted, efficient, and effective system for tracking and rewarding carbon displacement via renewable energy production.

Please note the use of the phrase, "carbon displacement."  Swytch rewards the displacement of CO2, and it differentiates relative displacement, too. Meaning, a green kilowatt in Mumbai may receive a larger token award than a green kilowatt in California, based on the energy source it is displacing. 

 While blockchain is at the core of the solution, the need for automated and secure data feeds and AI and machine learning marketplaces are also key to the solution. This is why Swytch partnered with Atonomi, which offers a blockchain-based security protocol for the Internet of Things, to build consensus protocols to secure IoT-enabled smart meters; and with numerous energy analytics firms to build our data and analytic platforms.

The result will be more efficient markets for carbon offsets, more efficient data transmission and validation, and more efficient and cleaner energy stemming from renewables.

Ettl: Blockchain protocols allow us to eliminate intermediaries. This almost always leads to reducing cost and increasing speed in processes.

In logistics, for example, it is more expensive to administer a shipment than to effectively transport it. Smart Containers is aiming to integrate the administrative tasks through blockchain technology, so that the cost for administration will fall drastically. We see the same potential in other industries.

Q: How can blockchain reduce waste?

Fragale: Blockchain can eliminate waste however you choose to define it, whether it be cost, pollution or excess energy production. Blockchain can automate processes and transactions, significantly reduce costs, and result in inherently trustworthy sources of verified data. Blockchain can facilitate smarter carbon offsets and renewable investment and policy decisions.

Blockchain can also provide the groundwork for demand-response solutions. Again, the key is to securely marry blockchain and smart contracts with other supporting technologies to make these ideas a reality.

An interesting take on reducing waste is minimizing fraudulent energy production data by combining Swytch's ability to capture and validate energy data via its blockchain solution with Atonomi’s IoT security solution.

Misreporting data creates massive inefficiencies in existing renewable incentive programs, which limits effectiveness and trust. By capturing immutable proof of energy production, running open-source estimators to verify, and layering in Atonomi's blockchain to enhance security and trust, Swytch is able to address this challenge in a relatively low-cost and low-touch way.

This not only cuts down on bad actors and bad data, but also creates a more robust incentive market by improving trust and accuracy.

Topics: Blockchain, Software

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for and His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.

wwwView Bradley Cooper's profile on LinkedIn

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