The EnerChainge project, conducted together with the partner company Edison, has the goal to investigate the properties and limitations of blockchain technology with an emphasis on the energy sector, and to design and develop a working prototype to address a specific energy related problem. The resulting solution is Virdis, an innovative, blockchain-based green energy tracker built around the concepts of transparency and fairness. The innovation lies in the application of blockchain technology to the tracking of the energy source of consumer goods, aiming to provide end users with an easy and seamless way to know, certify and track the environmental impact of their daily purchases. At the same time, by providing manufacturing companies with a way to communicate their energy consumption’s choices, Virdis can help them to benefit from an improved brand awareness around sustainability. The enhanced reputation will result in an increased demand for renewables, which can be supplied by energy retailers through green Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). PPAs are indeed a useful instrument for companies, which can have access to green energy with a low capital expenditure, and a profitable business for energy retailers selling them. However, their diffusion is currently limited due the lack of instruments to properly monetize on these investments.
The technology-push approach drove the organization of the work. After a first phase dedicated to drafting a preliminary project plan, the team spent a considerable amount of time on understanding the technology, as well as on assessing the major issues of the energy sector. After a careful analysis, the team foresaw a huge opportunity for blockchain to overcome the limits of the current green energy certification systems. Once restricted the scope, the team brainstormed around possible solutions and gradually converged around the outlined idea. Finally, the implementation of the solution in both its technical and business sides led to a minimum viable product to be tested on the market.
PRINCIPAL ACADEMIC TUTOR
Pierluigi Plebani, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano
OTHER ACADEMIC TUTOR
Francesco Bruschi, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano
Giulia Realmonte, Business Innovation & Development at Edison
Martina Caridi, Politecnico di Torino
Elena Arzenton, Politecnico di Milano
Francesco Cavallo, Politecnico di Torino
Matteo Corain, Politecnico di Torino
Michele Da Re, Politecnico di Torino
Nicolas Figini, Politecnico di Milano
Roberto Infantino, Politecnico di Milano