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Utilities' blockchain push continues as EDF deploys application on Ethereum

Publication Date: 30 May 2019 - By Gaurav Sharma (Associate Editor ReachX) By Gaurav Sharma (Associate Editor ReachX)
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Equity Fundamental Equity Multi Asset UK EU ex-UK Energy Technology

As the utilities industry sizes up blockchain opportunities, sector giant EDF has tied up with decentralised computing resources marketplace iExec to optimise its cloud computing infrastructure. 

The application – GPUSPH – used by the French utility giant has been deployed on Ethereum to take advantage of the decentralised cloud via iExec. It is a popular simulator for modelling fluids developed and used by EDF, to study among other things water dams or lava cooling.

EDF is not alone in tapping blockchain opportunities. Global blockchain in the utilities market is expected to grow by 60% to 2024, according to some industry estimates.  

Earlier this year, Infoholic Research assessed the global blockchain in energy utilities market to be $210.4m in 2018, and projected it to reach $3.4bn by 2024; a compound annual growth rate of 59.4% from 2018 to 2024.

“In a wider perspective, the development of distributed computing is a credible scenario for the future, and blockchain may be a nice lever in this scenario. The plan is to continue with other open scientific codes requiring possibly other types of worker pools,” says Gilles Deleuze, blockchain executive at EDF.

Among the advantages cited by the fifth-largest utility company worldwide that’s deploying GPUSPH on Ethereum are: increasing the resilience of GPUSPH by running it on a decentralised network of machines; managing peak loads of computing power to run heavy R&D software as needed by engineers; providing a clear situation of the enterprise’s available computers (instead of looking for an available machine, idle/underutilised machines come to the user); transparent monitoring of computational tasks; and auditing of each transaction.

iExec said the move also addresses Ethereum’s scalability problem, which is one of its most pressing concerns. The heavy computing of decentralised applications like GPUSPH is done off-chain and does not overwhelm Ethereum.

Afterward, blockchain is used to reach a consensus on the validity of computing results, and a hash of this result is stored on the blockchain.

iExec and EDF will also pursue exploring how blockchain technology can better optimise computing infrastructures, and will launch other experiments on in the future.

 

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