New project launch: application of distributed ledger technology to natural gas supply chain and GHG emissions reduction

Natural Gas Futures, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia’s Clean Energy Research Centre focusing on developing sustainable solutions for the responsible use of natural gas, launched a new project to investigate the impact of distributed ledger technology on natural gas supply chain and GHG emissions reduction. This collaborative research involves Natural Gas Futures, Blockchain@UBC, UBC Energy & Water Services, FortisBC and Xpansiv. Dr. Harish Krishnan from the Sauder School of Business at UBC’s Vancouver campus and Dr. Chen Feng from the School of Engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus will be the lead principal investigators of this project. The project is supported by Mitacs Accelerate program and Natural Gas Futures research consortium. FortisBC, UBC Energy & Water Services and Xpansiv will provide in-kind contributions including real-time data of natural gas supply and consumption, and a technology demonstration platform.

Distributed ledger technology, also known as blockchain, can potentially enable low-carbon transition and sustainability. Since it provides transparency, distributed ledger technology may reduce the cost and improve the efficiency in the operation of the energy systems. However, key challenges associated with blockchain systems include scalability, user privacy, governance, and the degree of decentralization. This project aims to understand how distributed ledger technology would work with a focus on renewable natural gas and differentiated fossil natural gas. The economic and environmental impact assessment will be performed to inform the decision makers about this emerging technology in the context of British Columbia’s natural gas supply chain.

BRDF engine running on renewable natural gas

Presently running on renewable natural gas, this engine produces both electricity for the campus grid and steam and hot water for UBC’s Academic District Energy System.