7. IT System Architecture

1. IT System Components

The depicted figure shows the highlevel architecture of the IT system that consists of several components that are described in detail further on.

Figure 22 - IT System Components

Every of the following system components acts under a distinct address within the defined P2P network:

Combined Heat and Power (CHP): CHP is a heat engine that generates electricity.

Load: Load is an electrical component that consumes energy e. g. a default household.

Grid: Grid is an interconnected network for delivering and provisioning electricity.

Battery: A Battery is a device with electrochemical cells to store and emit electrical energy.

Photovoltaics (Pv): Pv is a device that turns light into electricity.

The grid component is responsible for the interconnection between the rest of the components which are a part of the peer-to-peer network.

The energy supply and consumption of the stated components, respectively stakeholders, are connected to the grid as shown in the design of the Matlab Model. Due to the Matlab simulation the Grid has a special role within the P2P network.

Details about the Matlab simulation can be retrieved from 4.1 Matlab Simulation.

2. P2P Network Architecture

As already stated, smart contracts are a promising approach for a peer to peer network. The term peer-to-peer, short P2P, signifies that the components which participate in a network are equal and that all the nodes share the load of the network service.

P2P networks are solid, open and decentralized. Every participant can verify the legitimacy of transactions and forward them as well. Therefore the communication as well as the data backup is regulated decentralized. The image below consolidates the graphical overview of centralized and P2P networks.

Figure 23 - P2P Network

An important benefit of P2P networks is the fact that they are not reliant on a single part of the network to function like the server in a client-server architecture.

[ Berentsen, Schär, Universität Basel, 2017]

[Antonopoulos, O'Reilly, 2018]

3. Network Nodes

Although the nodes are all equal in the P2P network, they can have different roles depending on which functionalities they offer.

There are three basic functions that a node supports:

  1. Verification

  2. Wallet

  3. Mining

3.1 Verification

This function inlcudes all the activities, that are required for the independent network participation. Incoming transactions are verified, dropped locally and forwarded to other network nodes. The validity of each block and each chain is reviewed and checked.

This function also makes it possible to send and receive blocks.

3.2 Wallet

This function is responsible for the safe-keeping of private keys and for the monitoring and administration of one's own credit. It's an end user service with a graphical user interface for the simple sending and receiving of tokens of any kind. Therefore a wallet does not have to keep all the transactions that occured in the system like a full node. It is sufficient to store those transactions that are related to the wallet's user.

3.3 Mining

Nodes, that contain this function, participate in the creation of new blocks. There are several consensus approaches. The most common ones as mentioned before are:

  • Proof of Work

  • Proof of Stake

3.4 Full Nodes

Full nodes contain at least the verification function. They download each transaction and block and review them against the consensus rules of Bitcoin. If a block or transaction doesn't meet the terms of the consensus rules, it will be rejected.

It doesn't matter whether all the other nodes are of the opinion that the transaction or the block is valid.

[ Full Node, 2018]

[ Berentsen, Schär, Universität Basel, 2017]

[Antonopoulos, O'Reilly, 2018]

4. Micro grid

A micro grid is a small-scale, self-sustaining energy network, released by links to a centralized energy plant.

Figure 24 - Micro grid

The continuously development of power grids requires advanced technologies for control and automatization as well as for data analysis. A secure, stable and reliable integration of decentral producers and storage has to be enabled to support establishing new business models.

By combining micro grid solutions and blockchain technology, e. g. the operators of Pv systems can feed the local energy network with surplus energy and receive the compensation directly from the purchasers. The grid connects buildings to central energy sources. Consequently if one part of this interconnection has to be repaired, everyone is affected.

On the one hand, a micro grid can operate while connected to the grid and, on the other hand, a micro grid can also break off and operate with the connection to the grid. The micro grid can be powered by the battery component or by other system components.

The components grid, PV Systems, Battery and CHP unit want to sell their energy and the component loads wants to purchase the offered energy.

[Nordloh, 2018]

[Blockchain für Microgrids, 2017]

[ Lantero, 2014]