Swedish multinational furniture retail company, IKEA is trying to rethink the way cities currently produce and redistribute energy. The IKEA blockchain project known as the SolarVille is turning the heads of industry experts. It involves the creation of a solar-powered village that will operate using blockchain technology. This project is being worked on by IKEA’s “secret” lab, SPACE10. For instance, the prototype of the village itself is at a scale of 1:50 with major technology innovations.
IKEA Blockchain Project – SolarVille
Project SolarVille is an energy efficient, self-sustaining community fully powered by solar panels. The community allows the residents to immediately begin purchasing and selling excess electricity to each other. To create this microgrid for trading energy, SPACE10 is continually hard-wiring all the buildings in the village together. Therefore, they are being linked together in a complex blockchain network. The scientists working on this project are also claiming that the model is fully scalable.
“Technologies such as solar panels, micro-grids, and blockchain open new opportunities: off-grid systems allowing people to leapfrog traditional grid electricity,” said Bas Van De Poel, the Creative Director at SPACE10.
The Blockchain Aspect
The blockchain network for energy transaction by SPACE10 was developed by BLOC (Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration). SolarVille is utilizing a private blockchain network. However, the complete details of the operational capabilities of this blockchain have not been revealed yet.
Speaking on the IKEA blockchain project, Marc Johnson, Technical Project Manager at BLOC, said that:
“The SolarVille project demonstrates how frontier technologies are deployable in urban areas. , such as remote sensors and distributed ledger systems, can be utilized to develop a transaction network that enables self-sufficient monitoring and optimization of distributed energy resources in a localized network setting.”
A Smart City Revolution is Underway
According to a report by the Mckinsey Global Institute,
“By 2020 the number of smart cities will reach 600 worldwide, and 5 years later almost 60 percent of the world’s GDP will be produced in them. Digital technologies could become the engine of economic progress, and blockchain, without a doubt, could be one of them. ”
Many nations are already coming to terms with this reality. For example, the Chinese government has already set plans in motion to create hundreds of smart cities by 2025 to support its growing population. Estonia has begun to improve citywide operability by integrating blockchain technology into many of its government services including its legislative processes, healthcare and ID and energy data management. Meanwhile, Dubai has revamped its judicial system using blockchain and has also created the Smart City Initiative which aims to transform the city into the world’s first blockchain powered city by 2020.
Rapid urbanization is taking the world by storm. In addition, more people are migrating from rural areas to modern cities. Technological innovation is the only way to cope with the consequences of the rising population. It is necessary in metropolitan cities for continual innovation. The framework of smart cities will help address public need issues. Power and water shortages, high costs of living, public transport inadequacies, poor government services are reaching critical points. As it stands now, blockchain technology remains as a solution that will help support the smart city revolution.