The Port of Rotterdam has completed a successful trial of a new energy platform, Distro, which is the first in the world to combine blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and high-frequency commodity trading in a single platform.
Distro was tested across 32 companies at the port’s RDM site where users, working with solar panels and a battery, traded energy that they had produced themselves in a loval market.
The Port of Rotterdam claimed that the trial had shown it was possible to coordinate supply and demand through a platform on the basis of fair prices and transparent trading agreements.
Developed by S&P Global Platts, a division of S&P Global, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority Blocklab the new initiative helps companies in the port to reduce energy costs by making better use of locally produced electricity and smoothing peaks in demand on the electricity grid.
The platform fits well with the Port of Rotterdam’s goal to establish a carbon-neutral port by 2050 and the tests will be used to get it ready for commercial use.
The ‘micro-market’ of 32 users in the Innovation Dock made use of a roof full of solar panels and a battery to store the energy produced.
Artificial intelligence predicted the consumption and production patterns of individual electricity consumers and traded kilowatt hours on the platform on the basis of those forecasts.
On the platform, the price of electricity fluctuates with changes in supply and demand and the pilot demonstrated a 14% improvement in revenues for locally produced renewable energy, while lowing average prices for consumers.
The results also include a 92% consumption of renewable energy and a 20% increase in return on investment for the battery.
Trading between the participants mean that a ‘micro-market’ places less of a burden on the regular electricity grid and, in turn, the Port of Rotterdam Authority can reduce the capacity of the connection to the network and save costs by 25%.
The platform is a response to two major developments: consumers are now also producers and energy delivered by solar and wind fluctuates considerably.
James Rilett, innovation director at S&P Global Platts, said: “At the distribution level, too, the electricity has to become a mature market in which transparency will lead to better prices and the more effective use of infrastructure.”
The software used in the pilot will be prepared for commercial use in the coming months.
Nico Van Dooren, director of new business & portfolio management at the Port of Rotterdam Authority said: “This pilot project is good for everyone: not only are energy prices fairer and more transparent, the costs of sustainable energy are reduced for clients.
“This is a solution that will help to achieve the goal of a carbon-neutral port.”