Developed by the researcher and founder of COSOL, Csaba Sulyok, IoRe will positively transform the energy sector, providing a system which is decentralized, safe, cost-saving and with no intermediary.
Find out more about the award-winning COSOL project in the interview below.
1. Could you briefly explain what this IoT (Internet of Things) project you are developing is all about?
COSOL is acting as a market that connects power plants that use renewable energy to small businesses and residential electricity consumers to facilitate the approach between them. Exactly for this type of use, we invented the IoRE - Internet of Renewable Energy. IoRE is a transaction protocol, similar to TCP/IP from the Internet of communication, specifically designed to meet generation and consumption needs of the distributed renewable energy. IoRE applies a blockchain database to store the decentralized transaction data, thus eliminating the need for a central authority. All participating plants will be equipped with an IoT electricity meter, acting as indicators (end points) of IoRe's blockchain network. On the other hand, the electricity meters of participating energy consumers will also be upgraded with a low-cost IoT device, which will act as the client side of IoRE's blockchain network. Then, the IoRE protocol will be able to process energy and payment transactions between power plants and the electricity consumers, peer to peer, safely, in real time, without transaction cost, human interference or central authority.
2. You are working on this project along with Hungarian company LC Innoconsult. Could you give us more details on what role each company plays in this partnership?
COSOL has developed the IoRE technology and Low Carbon Brazil has supported technical and economic feasibility studies. Meanwhile, the Danubia patent office in Budapest (Hungary) has provided us with services related to the patenting process of the IoRE technology at the European Patent Office. Now, the patent has been fully developed and deposited at the EPO for review and approval. LC Innoconsult specializes in the patent trade and the negotiation of intellectual property rights of the IoRE technology and represents us in the IP market when the patent is published.
3. We have talked a lot about IoT, Internet of Things, but the term IoRE (Internet of Renewable Energy) is little known by Brazilians. Could you explain what this term consists of and what its purpose is?
The term IoRE was conceived by the inventors at COSOL. It refers to the Internet of Renewable Energy as an acronym. The IoRE technology combines IoT electricity measurement technology and distributed accounting technology, also known as blockchain. IoRE also refers to the IoRE Cash Token, which is an encrypted currency designed to circulate between renewable energy generators and consumers. The IoRE Energy token, on the other hand, is a proof of renewable energy consumption that can be converted into green certificates.
4. What would be the benefits of decentralizing power generation to companies, industries and private consumers?
Distributed generation has many advantages over the centralized generation system because electricity is generated locally, close to consumers, thus eliminating the need for long transmission lines and increasing efficiency. The environmental and social impact is also considerably lower when compared to large centralized generation. This transformation is made possible as a result of the change in thermoelectric generation technology for renewable generation, which is modular and does not require a very large size to be viable.
5. You are developing an innovative technology for distributed power resource management based on IoT energy meters and blockchain database technology. Could you tell us some more about it?
The IoRE technology is precisely matching IoT electricity and blockchain database technology to manage distributed generation assets. Each generator and consumer will be equipped with an IoT meter as a retrofit for the conventional energy meter at a low cost. Then, the small computers of those IoT electricity meters will be able to transact between them using the IoRE protocol and storing the transaction information in the IoRE blockchain database safely, approved by the network of participating generators and consumers.
6. You mention in your Low Carbon project that photovoltaic systems can reduce GHG emissions. Could you describe how the blockchain technology applied to the PV sector can reduce GHG emissions and/or other pollutants?
The generation of photovoltaic electricity is one of the least damaging to the environment in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The IoRE's blockchain technology is designed to increase transaction efficiency and, therefore, reduce the cost of distributed photovoltaic generation. As the biggest barrier to changing fossil fuels for photovoltaics is exactly the cost factor, COSOL believes that the IoRE technology could contribute to cost savings and make photovoltaic energy more competitive. Today, about 30% of the electricity bill is destined to cover distribution costs. IoRE is a technology designed to significantly reduce this monetary factor while maintaining safety and increasing the speed of transactions and the flexibility of the distribution network.
7. You have indicated in your business plan for this project that in addition to the support received by the Low Carbon Brazil program you have also received support from SENAI. Could you tell us some more about it?
SENAI selected our IoRE technology as one of the winners of its innovation auctions and invested R$ 400,000 as technical support from the department. SENAI São Paulo's information technology team has been working on the development of the market and its integration with the IoRE blockchain in the last 12 months. The project was successfully completed in May 2019, and is ready to be tested with the first power plants and energy consumers.
8. As the technical studies funded by Low Carbon Brazil are currently finalizing, how do you value the quality of this service?
Low Carbon Brazil has supported the development of economic, technical, and market feasibility studies, as well as covering the cost of the patenting process. We are very pleased with the services provided by Danubia's patent attorneys and the overall results of the consulting services.
9. Low Carbon is also helping partners in seeking funding to effectively implement the supported projects. Can you tell us how you expect this project to be funded and by whom?
The IoRE technology is best suited to be funded by angel investors, interested in the enertech industry, however, we also receive considerable interest from energy companies. IoRE was awarded the silver medal for energy innovation at EDP Open Innovation Lisboa in 2017; and we were selected as one of the top 10 Fintechs by BNDES. We are currently receiving the greatest interest from energy companies not involved in distribution, but willing to enter the distributed generation market.