EV-Multipurpose Charging Station Combines Blockchain, IoT Tech

Singapore Startup Blockchainfirst on Jan. 26 launched a blockchain-enabled EV/multi-purpose charging station that accommodates electric cars, motorbikes and bicycles. The “Ethan BIoT Charging Station,” as it’s been dubbed, is the first of a planned series of blockchain-enabled commercial products the company intends to introduce this year.

Intended for use by by governments (B2C), companies (B2B/B2C) and individuals (P2P), Ethan BioT Charging Stations have four main features, Blockchainfirst founder Juergen Schaar explains in a Jan. 26 news report:

  • Fast-charging of electric vehicles (EVs) “Type 2 IEC 61851–1” e.g. BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf
  • Charging of electric motorbikes and bicycles
  • Payment with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether, either via a standard Wallet App e.g. Jaxx or via RFID/NFC Card
  • An optional, built-in IoT OIracle with as many as six sensors for capturing environmental data, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), temperature, humidity, acoustics, light and pressure.

Blockchains for EVs and Mobility Assets

Several distinct modules and components go into manufacturing of Blockchainfirst’s Ethan BIoT Charging Stations:

  • A charging controller for the charging cycle and communication with the car
  • Electrical components e.g. relays, power supply, etc.
  • An industrial Ethan BIoT© Device
  • The optional IoT Oracle for capturing environmental data.

At the system’s core is a custom-designed industrial SOC (System On Chip) with cryptographic functions built in.

The Singapore-based blockchain product/systems developer and consulting company introduced a set of Ethan BIoT devices at International Blockchain Week 2016 in Shanghai. This included a connected remote control gate/door opener, vending machine (candy), smart electricity meter and light bulb, Schaar noted.

Positive feedback received from exhibition/conference participants, the blockchain development community and others served to confirm Blockchainfirst’s belief that the organization was on the right track. That led the company to invest more in developing practical, easy-to-use blockchain-enabled products, Schaar recounted.

Blockchainfirst isn’t the first to introduce a blockchain-enabled electric vehicle (EV) charging station. Germany’s Slock.it launched a beta version of its Share&Charge peer-to-peer (P2P) EV charging station and mobile app last September.

Both Blockchainfirst and Slock.it used the Ethereum platform to develop their EV charging station blockchains.

Ultimately, we aim to extend this concept to bring value to operators of mobility services, to easily share or rent their mobility assets, including energy, parking spots, and eventually even the vehicles themselves

Slock.it co-founder and COO Stephan Tual

…and for Distributed Energy Microgrids

Innovators are combining blockchain and IoT tech elsewhere in the power-energy sector, particularly in the distributed energy-microgrid market space. ¨The earliest adopters of blockchain will likely not be utilities, but other stakeholders,” Navigant Research principal research analysts and report authors Stuart Ravens and Neil Strother wrote in recently released market research.

“At present, those leading the research into blockchain are the owners of distributed energy resources (DER) and startups seeking to sell directly to them.¨

One promising application is using blockchain apps, smart contracts and distributed databases to integrate distributed energy resources into micro- and larger power grids, E7 Ventures founder and CEO David Cohen explained in a Microgrid Media interview.

¨Blockchain technology can be used to synchronize both real-time pricing signals for fast-response grid services with real time phasor control systems in order to balance microgrid operations with the distribution system and wholesale market operations,¨ Cohen said.

¨In essence, blockchain can provide the visibility and accountability to enable transactive energy systems by integrating both electrical, ‘cyberphysical’ and financial systems.”

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