SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The rapid growth of the earth's population and the industrialization of developing countries are driving global energy demands to unprecedented levels. The world’s energy dependence on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas pose significant risks to the environment and are one of the leading drivers of detrimental climate changes.
The majority of scientists around the world agree that based on our current trajectory, the world is heading towards a series of irreversible ecological disasters. One possible pathway to alter this course is to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels drastically. The need for “GHG-free renewable energy” has become a pressing issue, concerning all of humanity.
Combining Blockchain and Energy Technologies
With these challenges, new approaches to energy production and distribution are needed. The solutions must support vibrant and sustainable global growth. Andy Li founded the AI Grid Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Singapore. The AI Grid Foundation advocates for the employment of decentralized renewable energy as a viable solution to the problems of our existing energy system. The AI Grid Foundation has collaborated with organizations and communities around the world to develop the ELONCITY Model, a community-based and consensus-driven approach that employs decentralized renewable energy resources as a means of removing barriers to universal, safe, secure, reliable, affordable, healthy, and equitable electricity services.
In the ELONCITY ecosystem, the energy consumers play a critical role in the planning and implementation of their energy future.
The blockchain smart contract platform and crypto utility token enable energy consumers to exchange locally produced energy, creating cost-benefit incentives for energy asset deployment within their communities.
Decentralized renewable energy is about employing naturally available renewable resources, such as solar or wind power, to produce electricity locally, where and when it is consumed. When energy consumers in a community collaborate with each other to exchange energy, this, in turn, allows them to equitably allocate the costs-benefits of shared energy equipment to create community-wide access to safe, secure, reliable and cost-effective, local energy supplies. Furthermore, this opens the door to maximize utilization rates of the shared energy equipment, and accelerate equipment purchasers’ return-on-investment (ROI). The result is a community-based renewable microgrid (CRM) that can operate in grid-connected or stand-alone mode. This type of decentralized CRM holds the potential to support local economic growth, by providing universal access to reliable and affordable electricity.
The proposed ELONCITY Model integrates advanced technologies to create a scalable and replicable recipe for attaining a reliable, renewable energy future. The model builds upon four (4) key pillars:
1) A decentralized renewable energy architecture, which is comprised of:
a) A high-performance blockchain smart contract platform that provides
an open, but secure and immutable, ledger for energy exchanges and
allocation of cost-benefits of shared energy assets deployed in the
b) An intelligent networked battery energy storage system (BESS) installed in the community that harmonizes local electricity supply-demand and flattens intermittent renewable generation to fortify utility electricity into predictable, reliable, safe, and clean local power.
c) Local renewable generation, such as PVs, coupled with an intelligent networked BESS, which fulfills all or nearly all of the local energy demands.
d) DC appliances that enable the community to use the renewable power more efficiently by mitigating losses from repeated AC-DC-AC conversions.
2) Community development ensures the successful planning and
implementing of the ELONCITY Model at five fundamental levels;
a) Local community adoption;
b) Germane social application;
c) Quantifiable salient impact;
d) Localized roadmaps for step-by-step deployment and continued growth;
e) Leveraged lessons learned to hone processes for accelerated wide-scale replication.
3) Performance-based projects with revolving load funds are an effective strategy for continuously raising private capital and crowdfunding, which are utilized in the widespread deployment of the ELONCITY Model.
4) The collaborative regulatory framework facilitates level-field markets to mitigate imbalanced market powers, unleash market innovations, protect the energy consumer, and support local economies.
Currently, the AI Grid Foundation is collaborating with global partners to demonstrate the ELONCITY Model in remote areas, where electricity services are either highly unreliable or non-existent. Improving infrastructure, especially access to electricity, is critical to unlocking opportunities for job growth in global communities. In developing regions such as Asia and Africa, businesses cite lack of access to reliable electricity as the main hindrance to business development, ranking even higher than lack of finances.
In early 2017, the AI Grid Foundation entered Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula and provided decentralized renewable energy technologies to help fortify the centralized grids, serving nearly 300,000 residents and businesses. The AI Grid Foundation seeks to empower energy consumers in remote villages to produce renewable energy locally, which has the potential to fulfill all or almost all of their energy needs. Based on the blockchain consensus technology platform, the ELONCITY Model will enable the energy consumers in Baja California to trade electricity among themselves.
In southern California, The AI Grid Foundation is in discussion with construction firms and project developers to pilot the ELONCITY Model in a newly developed community of residential and commercial buildings. The energy customers in the pilot sites will be able to collaborate with each other to trade energy, increasing their return on investment in battery storage equipment and other decentralized renewable energy assets. The community-based renewable energy resources will help to relieve locational and temporal grid constraints, while avoiding costly centralized grid infrastructure upgrades.
When the AI Grid Foundation learned that Nigeria is home to the highest number of people without electricity access in Africa, they immediately collaborated with Krypital Group to study Nigeria’s climate conditions, energy policies, economic foundations, and energy needs. Nigeria is a lower middle-income country with a per capita income of roughly $2,800 and a poverty rate of 53%. Nigeria’s underdeveloped energy infrastructure is one of the key factors obstructing national industrialization and economic growth. Over the past four decades, Nigeria’s policy goal of meeting their population’s electricity demands has remained elusive due to financial limitations, weak capacity for energy planning, and poor governance. The country urgently needs a systematic roadmap to fortify their existing grid infrastructure, and to ensure access to reliable electricity services for all Nigerians. The AI Grid Foundation is currently working with Krypital Group to establish strategic partnerships with local utility companies, financial institutions, government representatives and communities in Nigeria. The ELONCITY Model will be demonstrated in the selected pilot sites of Lagos.
In the next 12 to 18 months, the AI Grid Foundation will continue to expedite its collaboration with global technology partners, local utility companies, governmental agencies, and community-based organizations in North America, Southeast Asia, and Africa, with the goal of demonstrating the ELONCITY Model’s sustainable and affordable energy services, through the fortification of local centralized power grids.
Growing with ELONCITY to Create a Better Future
Andy Li, founder of the AI Grid Foundation and the principal creator of the Eloncity Model, previously led ChinaCache in building the content distribution network (CDN) Internet infrastructure. CDN is analogous to decentralized energy resources in the realm of the Internet. Andy also led Alibaba’s Cloud Computing Data Center Architecture team to pioneer the application of direct current (DC) power systems for mega data centers in Asia. Additionally, Andy became a master of network traffic engineering during his tenure at Cisco Systems. His work helped realize system intelligence at the edge of the network, which is significantly superior to the traditional core distribution networks. Since 2014, Andy has been leading POMCube Inc. to develop intelligent network battery energy storage systems (“BESS”). POMCube will be one of the AI Grid Foundation’s technology partners in piloting the ELONCITY microgrids and demonstrating the open standard ELONCITY Token Protocol (ECTP). Andy’s team has successfully implemented BESS technology in residential households, commercial buildings, and small communities. Today, the AI Grid Foundation can provide customers with on-site renewable electricity generation and intelligently store locally produced electricity. Currently, Andy’s team is developing a state-of-the-art blockchain smart contract platform to empower the customers to exchange renewable electricity with each other.
Andy Li aims to change the fundamental power infrastructure, promote the innovation of decentralized renewable energy technologies, address the fundamental inefficiencies of the existing centralized energy infrastructure, and to realize his dream of renewable energy becoming the de-facto resources for the emerging energy future. Although the journey to realize this aspiration is challenging, Andy Li has met many like-minded innovators and entrepreneurs in recent years that also want to tackle large energy problems to create a safer and healthier world.
Martin Friel, the director of the Birmingham Energy Institute at the University of Birmingham, said, “Globally, the biggest challenge facing the future of the energy sector will be building air conditioning.” Building heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) consumes the largest energy load in a typical building, consuming more than half of the average building’s electricity demand. To address this challenge, the AI Grid Foundation has forged a strategic partnership with GREE Electric Appliances, the world's largest HVAC manufacturer and a pioneer in the energy field. Andy Li and Dong Mingzhu, the founder of GREE Electric Appliances, plan to collaborate to drive market-wide adoption of direct current (DC) HVAC systems. The DC HVAC can significantly increase the efficiency of renewable energy systems by eliminating losses due to repeated DC-AC-DC conversions.
Andy Li also established strong collaborative ties with another innovative leader, Dai Zhen. Dai Zhen is the current Clean Energy Ambassador to the United Nations. He has the skills to promote renewable energy and local energy distribution that will accelerate the implementation of the global green energy infrastructure. Dai Zhen will serve as the lead advisor to the AI Grid Foundation on the ELONCITY project. His in-depth expertise and experience in the energy and blockchain sectors will be highly beneficial in the development and wide-scale proliferation of the ELONCITY Model.
It is often said that there are two kinds of sectors where disruptive breakthroughs happen. One is an area that is extremely complex and contains significant technological innovations. The other is an area with opportunities that are visible but are extremely difficult to turn into reality. The ELONCITY project encapsulates both.
This is the reason why many of the world’s leading blockchain investment firms are competing to become a cornerstone investor in ELONCITY. Investing in ELONCITY means investing in not only the application of blockchain technology and decentralized renewable energy but also investing in the development of the shared regenerative energy future for communities globally.
So far, The AI Grid Foundation has secured $20 Million in investments from dozens of global institutions including OK Blockchain Capital, Krypital Group, Starwin Capital, Fenbushi Capital, LD Capital, Horman Capital, Collinstar Capital, Interblock Capital, JRR Crypto, Fly Fund, Qingzheng Capital, Decentrust Capital, Powerlink Labs, GVC. PE, Ceyuan Digital Assets, and private investors. The ELONCITY investors focus on the long-term goals of improving community's lives around the world. These investors are ardent supporters of the AI Grid Foundation’s mission to promote the ELONCITY Model and enable universal access to safe, reliable, affordable, sustainable and equitable energy services for all.