UCTS to develop pilot solar blockchain microgrid system


Khairuddin (second left) exchanges the MoU with Gabungan Binaan Jurutenaga managing director Dr Abang Hatta Abang Taha (second right) witnessed by UCTS Centre for Research & Development director Prof Dr Salfarina Abdul Gapor (right) and UCTS deputy vice-chancellor Assoc Prof Dr Azlan Ali (left).

SIBU: University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS), a fully-owned Sarawak state government institution, is embarking on a joint pilot project with a consortium of companies to develop the country’s first blockchain-driven solar microgrid energy exchange and trading system.

This was announced by its vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid after the opening ceremony of UCTS Research Centre Symposium & Postgraduate Colloquium 2019 at its campus here recently.

As part of UCTS’ Smart Campus initiative, the pilot project will initially be implemented onsite at its campus on a small scale with the hope to eventually expand to all its buildings and facilities in the future.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the university and the consortium partners comprising Gabungan Binaan Jurutenaga Sdn Bhd, Samdo Smart Solar Sdn Bhd and EPC Blockchain Sdn Bhd.

“As the nation’s first and only Green Building Index (GBI) Platinum certified campus, it was only logical for UCTS to take the lead as an innovator of green technologies and not just as a user,” said Khairuddin.

“This pilot is a critical part of our Smart Campus initiative, which aims to offer a unique education experience and enriching campus technologies for the digital natives of the 21st century.”

He added that the project serves as an exciting example of how new advanced digital technologies like Blockchain can enable ground-breaking business models of implementing scalable and sustainable green energy solutions, not just for smart cities but also for Sarawak’s underserved communities’ energy needs.

The current UCTS Microgrid Blockchain project is expected to grow from the pilot use cases at UCTS campus to over thousands of microgrid transaction ledger recordings via blockchain in the near future, with plans to sell to green energy vendors and consumers self-managed procurement blockchain.

Special focus will be given to exploring the challenges with the existing revenue models and accumulated knowledge and resources of incumbents, and open opportunities for new approaches of software protocols, data ownership, and licensing, auctions and reputation systems.

Gabungan Binaan Jurutenaga and Samdo Smart Solar aim to produce a working model that can be deployed commercially at scale later, especially in new housing projects, rural schools and underserved communities through the collaboration.

As a local property integrator, Gabungan Binaan Jurutenaga has progressed towards planning housing development projects in Sarawak based on EPC Blockchain’s platform called BESC.

It will keep track of the energy data captured for billings settlement and CO2 emission reduction as well as to stimulate an emerging market called Carbon Credit trading.

Meanwhile, project leader Dr Bakri Madon said the project is very strategic and provides UCTS with “many values and benefits.”

“It will enable us to lower our energy footprint and maintain our GBI-Platinum certification as we expand the campus facilities.

“Apart from that, it will also give us the perfect platform to grow an expert team in Blockchain technology.”

Bakri, who is also UCTS School of Computing and Creative Media dean, added that the project also serves as an opportunity to catalyse commercial opportunities in solar blockchain microgrids for housing communities, rural areas and even as a solution for the emerging Electric Vehicle (EV) charging market.

The consortium members are currently negotiating with Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) to tap on their expertise in grid and EV technologies as well as to jointly address relevant policy and regulatory issues.