Blockchain goes green: tokens for low carbon investment

A Swiss company is planning to use blockchain for clean energy investment.

Silent Power Projects produces and installs CO2-neutral methanol synthesis plants and it intends to bring this technology to private homes by tokenizing investment in its projects using blockchain.

When methanol is created, the synthesis process captures CO2 from the environment, including emissions from waste incineration plants or other CO2 emitting facilities. The CO2 is bound naturally in the methanol and the resulting substance can be used as fuel again, resulting in CO2-neutral energy that can be used widely.Blockchain goes green

The plants use a carbon capture technique that draws carbon dioxide out of air into methanol that is ready to be used in energy applications. When the fuel is burned, only the CO2 that is released is the same CO2 that was captured before, creating a carbon-neutral ecosystem.

The company is using blockchain to enable individuals to participate in the growth of the green fuel economy by offering tokens to eligible investors.

Silent Power chief executive Prof Urs A. Weidmann said: “An increasing number of people are interested in participating in and supporting the growth of the renewable energy economy. However, often practicality and infrastructure issues become a barrier to successful deployment and growth.”

Methanol can be used in mini power plants such as one developed by Silent-Power, called the Econimo. It is a combined heat and power plant and uses a microturbine that generates 30 kW power and 60 kW to heat or cool water.

“The mini power plants function independently and can be deployed nearly anywhere, instead of the traditional, centralized, large-scale power plants that have to send power hundreds of kilometers over the grid,” said Prof. Weidmann. “The Silent Power energy concept relies instead on a robust distributed network model that involves thousands of Econimo mini power plants. This helps to avoid the transmission losses experienced by large centralized power plants.”

The first Econimo became operational in 2016 in Switzerland. The company is looking to build more than 2500 Econimo units to be distributed over the next five years. Prof Weidmann said these mini power plants can play the role of power grid stabilizers for utility companies, compensating for irregularity in supply from other renewable energy sources. “Unlike the electricity produced by wind or solar, renewable methanol can be a stable storage of energy over unlimited periods of time.”

The global methanol market was estimated at $31 billion in 2016, with growth expected to continue. Methanol is the second most traded liquid in the world after crude oil.

Prof. Weidmann founded Silent Power in 2002 the vision of creating a new energy supply system that is sustainable, efficient and CO2 neutral. In 2016, Silent was awarded the Swiss Innovation Award for the production of CO2-neutral electricity from methanol and for the world’s first commissioning of a methanol mini power plant.

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