Curtin University, Murdoch University, Power Ledger and LandCorp are behind an $8 million project that will use blockchain technology to manage water and energy systems in the City of Fremantle.
A $2.6 million slice of that money will be provided through the federal government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs program, which is chipping in $6 million to six projects across Western Australia.
The two-year project will be undertaken at the Knutsford green property development near Fremantle and begin within two months.
As part of the trial, electricity generation infrastructure will be built onsite at water recycling and rainwater capture facilities.
That will include solar panels, batteries and an electric vehicle charge station, which will be integrated through Power Ledger’s blockchain electricity tracking software.
The blockchain concept underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and effectively means transactions are processed through distributed computers.
The hope is that it will help Curtin and Murdoch researchers assess the effectiveness of using blockchain technology in the management of water and power infrastructure.
“We will develop a smart metering, battery storage and blockchain trading system to allow energy and water efficiencies between critical dispersed infrastructures that would otherwise have required physical co-location,” Curtin's Greg Morrison said.
One benefit will be that the City of Fremantle can use onsite generation to save costs on overhauling its water distribution systems, which are due for a $3 million investment to increase capacity.
State government land developer LandCorp plans to use the results to explore using smart technology in alternative water and power systems.
Other organisations involved in the project include CSIRO, Western Power and the Australian Energy Market Operator.