Disruption is a term used too frequently in the Energy Sector. The industry has faced a lot of disruptions already. Some of them are growing at a pace that is slower than what people associate with disruption, but the effects are still and truly disruptive.Read More
Hydrogen is too often hailed as the solution for all our energy problems and while it is an interesting technology, it also has its limitations. I found the video from Real Engineering an excellent explainer why for example in cars, a pure battery EV is the ‘better’ solution over a Hydrogen FCHEV.
Hydrogen being ‘just a carrier’ of energy, it first has to be made using another source of energy. I think the sensible use cases for hydrogen are:
- In case you are sitting on top of a process which has hydrogen as a waste output, by all means utilise that. Convert it to electricity in a fuel cell, or burn it for heat.
- In the case where you are in need of a lot of heat, hydrogen can make more sense than trying to apply heat using an electrical source. Steel mills for example, or large scale ovens. You’d be able to make the hydrogen, have a far from perfect efficiency from doing so, but have access to a heat source that is free from CO2 emissions. Assuming you’re using electrolysis to create hydrogen and solar/wind power.
- Rockets. I see progress being made with battery powered flight and that just might evolve in big commercial airliners using battery power to fly us around. For a conventional rocket to have thrust, it has to push something out. Using hydrogen for this can make sense. Until we have developed something in the area of ion-drives, or Star Trek inspired impulse/warp capabilities. Let me know if you are working on that.
When companies start to explore blockchain, there is a large focus on getting use cases. For some it seems the more use cases that can be found, the better. I remember a report claiming to have found 200 use cases for blockchain within the energy industry, which caussed quite a stir. Looking into the details of these 200, a lot of them could be grouped together as a number of P2P cases. In all fairness, at an abstract level, only about 4-6 remain. Doing P2P for electricity or for some other product, is very 'same-same, but different'.
A recent post by Jesse Morris from EWF on North American Clean Energy has reduced the application of blockchain to three fields:
Over the next several years, we believe blockchain technology can unlock value through:
- transitioning analog or basic digital services to blockchain-based platforms to streamline accounting
- offering new services and products on top of deployed blockchain-based platforms
- enabling market participants to experiment with entirely new market models
I think this is an excellent observation and can even be applied in general across different industries.
I was invited to discuss blockchain in the energy sector on Satoshi Radio! It is a Dutch podcast by two friendly and curious guys in the Dutch blockchain space; Bart Mol and Wijnand Luitjes. It was a great interview where they really probed on how the energy system (in The Netherlands) works and sometimes digging beyond what my level of understanding is.
If you want to listen to the 1,5 hour podcast, you can do so using your favourite podcasting app via Satoshi Radio.
It was fun to be a guest on this podcast, as this is something I have been pondering of starting on my own as well. Good to see the love, patience and grit required to keep up with a weekly podcast! If you have tips on how to start this, I’d love to hear more!
Last week I was invited by ABN to give a presentation explaining how blockchain can be applied in the energy industry. A nice session with a mix of people who are well versed in blockchain and some others who do not have a daily interaction with this type of technology.
I always enjoy a fresh perspective from the questions afterwards; it is interesting to see what questions come up from a bank’s perspective. This cross pollination across different industries can truly foster nice collaborations and learning experiences.
Interested to hear more on this or discuss what blockchain can do for your industry? Please do get in touch.