Leicester academic secures grant to research technological advancements in UK energy system

A researcher at the University has secured a grant worth £459,000 for a project which will explore the vast potential of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

Dr Ruzanna Chitchyan, from the Department of Informatics, will research the feasibility of how DLT can help to democratise the UK’s energy system by allowing individuals or organisations to trade energy they have generated.

The grant awarded to Dr Chitchyan is one of seven new projects which will explore the potentially transformative opportunities offered by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) in fields such as energy, healthcare and policy-making.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has supported the projects with more than £3.6 million of investment, delivered through the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Digital Economy Theme.

They will look at new uses for digital distributed ledgers, databases which are shared between multiple parties and have the potential to make the systems and services they are applied to more transparent while maintaining high levels of security and privacy.

The best known use of DLT currently is in Bitcoin, a form of digital currency that uses blockchain technology, a distributed ledger formed of unchangeable and digitally-recorded data stored in packages called blocks.

A Government Office for Science report, published in 2016, said that technical innovations such as DLT could enable “revolutionary changes” that will “ultimately cause major changes in the way in which the economy and society itself is organised and governed”.

The highly multi-disciplinary research projects taking place at five universities will consider the technical, economic, legal and social elements of the technology.