For the next three years, a pair of office buildings in downtown Toronto will be a testing ground for two unique technologies — one that turns electric vehicles into a power source for building residents, and another that tracks that energy usage and billing with cutting-edge blockchain technology.
While it sounds futuristic, this scenario could soon be commonplace once electric vehicle numbers in Canada reach a critical mass. The scheme promises to reduce the cost of electric vehicle charging transactions and enhance power grid efficiency.
The scheme promises to reduce the cost of electric vehicle charging transactions and enhance power grid efficiency.
“These kind of transactions that occur within a building are not monitored or recorded by a utility because utilities don’t have any visibility within the inside of a building,” says Li. “
If there is no third-party source like the utilities to verify, it’s hard for customers to know if that [charge or credit] is true or not. That’s where blockchain comes in. It’s like an automated ledger system that keeps track of all transactions. There is no way to fudge those numbers.”
The blockchain smart-charging program marks one of the first real-world applications of a largely theoretical technology. It’s SWTCH and Opus’s hope that the data they gather from this project will help them strengthen the argument for other businesses to adopt the same or similar models to give net benefit to everyone from building residents to utilities.
“You are going to have an abundance of battery reserve storage that’s just sitting there — most people only drive their vehicles 10 per cent of the time. You use these EVs to reduce peak energy demand. There are all these things that you can use to make the grid more stable.”