The Crypto Evangelist
Jens Strüker, head of the Institute of Energy Economics at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt, is convinced that blockchain technology will revolutionize his industry and thrilled that Germany is driving the change.
Mr. Strüker, as a consultant for the German Energy Agency and a specialist in energy management, I understand you are currently evaluating about a dozen proposals for blockchain applications in the energy industry. Is blockchain technology ready for practical use?
JENS STRÜKER: In the energy sector, this time is fast approaching. In particular, the ability to automate and handle real-time contracts, processes, and transactions using blockchain technology is literally electrifying companies in the industry.
Why are companies so interested in it?
STRÜKER: For several years, the German energy industry has been undergoing a radical change from a centralized energy supply to a decentralized system. Blockchain technology could be the answer to many of the challenges companies are facing along the way. There are many use cases and many exciting pilot projects. The German energy industry is an ideal test field.
Can you give an example?
STRÜKER: The Energy Web Foundation, founded in 2017 in Berlin, is one exciting project. German energy companies have got together with a large number of international partner companies and institutions from Europe, Asia, and the U.S. and are developing an energy blockchain that is compatible with as many national regulatory systems as possible worldwide. The beta version of this energy blockchain has been in testing since the summer of 2018.
»The German energy industry is an ideal test field for blockchain applications.«
Jens Strüker, head of the Institute of Energy Economics at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences
What is so special about this project?
STRÜKER: The special thing about these open source blockchain projects is that they are cross-border, and that the participating companies work together on this technology and share experiences, even though many of them are actually competitors. They are jointly developing applications for the trade of certificates of origin, demand management, and peer-to-peer electricity trading, which will then be made publicly available.
Why are energy companies getting involved?
STRÜKER: Because they have recognized that they can use an open blockchain, which serves as a common technical market standard, as the basis for their own, scalable, new business models. It’s a tightrope walk: they must protect sensitive corporate data while storing a lot of data open in the blockchain to enable secure and efficient real-time energy transactions. This is extremely exciting – and there is currently no comparable large-scale blockchain project in the energy sector anywhere in the world.
Photo: Hochschule Fresenius/John M. John