Tariff selection for electric vehicles

Fabian Knirsch together with Andreas Unterweger and Dominik Engel researched the use of privacy preserving blockchain technology in the energy trade for electric vehicles charging stations.

Last week Fabian presented their results on “Privacy-preserving block-chain-based electric vehicle charging with dynamic tariff decisions” at the D-A-CH+ Energieinformatik 2017, the renowned conference in the field of energy informatics.

Electric vehicles are gaining widespread adoption and are a key component in the establishment of the smart grid. Beside the increasing number of electric vehicles, a dense and widespread charging infrastructure will be required.
This offers the opportunity for a broad range of different energy providers and charging station operators, both of which can offer energy at different prices depending on demand and supply. While customers benefit from a liberalized market and a wide selection of tariff options, such dynamic pricing use cases are subject to privacy issues and allow to detect the customer’s position and to track vehicles for, e.g., targeted advertisements.
This paper presents a reliable, automated and privacy-preserving selection of charging stations based on pricing and the distance to the electric vehicle. The protocol builds on a blockchain where electric vehicles signal their demand and charging stations send bids similar to an auction. The electric vehicle owner then decides on a particular charging station based on the supply-side offers it receives. This paper shows that the use of blockchains increases the reliability and the transparency of this approach while preserving the privacy of the electric vehicle owners.

For further details, please see:

  • [PDF] [DOI] F. Knirsch, A. Unterweger, and D. Engel, “Privacy-preserving blockchain-based electric vehicle charging with dynamic tariff decisions,” Computer Science – Research and Development, 2017.
    author = {Knirsch, Fabian and Unterweger, Andreas and Engel, Dominik},
    title = {Privacy-preserving blockchain-based electric vehicle charging with dynamic tariff decisions},
    journal = {Computer Science - Research and Development},
    year = {2017},
    month = {9},
    issn = {1865-2042},
    doi = {10.1007/s00450-017-0348-5},
    pdf = {https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00450-017-0348-5.pdf},
    url = {https://doi.org/10.1007/s00450-017-0348-5},

Phd thesis on ‘A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart Grid’

Book Cover: A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart GridChristian Neureiter, the original author of the SGAM Toolbox, has successfully completed his PhD thesis on “A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart Grid”.

The doctoral thesis is available at amazon.de under the same title.

The research presented in this book covers considerations on how to utilize Systems Engineering (SE) and Model Driven Engineering (MDE) concepts for the development of robust and dependable Smart Grids. It discusses the specification and implementation of a standards-based Domain Specific Language (DSL), denoted as SGAM Toolbox. Furthermore, it demonstrates the application of this toolbox on basis of different case studies. The implementation results are evaluated in different ways and a summarizing scientific discussion identifies different issues that require future research. One of the intentions of this book is to complement scientific considerations with concepts for practical applicability. Thus, the described results (especially the SGAM Toolbox) are publicly available.

Virtualization of the Smart Grid

With the increased use of energy from renewable sources, electricity will be generated in a distributed way and the current power grid will transform to a Smart Grid. This creates new demands on the supply networks and the ICT infrastructure.

In VirtueGrid, a new project at the research center, Armin Veichtlbauer, Oliver Langthaler and Ulrich Pache examine how far the ICT infrastructure can support current and future requirements through virtualization.

“The focus of VirtueGrid is the question how we can create a reliable, efficient and secure infrastructure that best fulfills all technical and legal aspects. Subsequent adaptations in the Smart Grid should be possible flexibly via software configuration,” explains project manager Armin Veichtlbauer.

Therefore, in the VirtueGrid project, different scenarios are defined and solution concepts are developed using network virtualization techniques. The concepts are evaluated together with the project partners in three stages with simulations, laboratory tests, and field tests.

Communication in the Smart Grid

In industrial communication, OPC UA simplifies the exchange of data between machines and devices and enables a high level of data exchange between manufacturers and platforms.

Therefore researcher Armin Veichtlbauer and ITS Masterstudent Martin Ortmayer examined how the communication protocol is suitable for exchanging data between field devices and with back-end solutions in the OpenNES project. The aim was also to evaluate whether a deployment as a middleware solution for an open and interoperable communication infrastructure is possible for the smart grid.

Armin Veichtlbauer recently presented the results of these investigations at INDIN 2017, the “IEEE 15th International Conference of Industrial Informatics”.
Based on a prototype it was show that the integration of OPC UA in field devices is possible. The integration was evaluated according to criteria such as the size of the storage requirement, the CPU load and the delay in communication. The researcher could prove that OPC UA can be used sensibly for the communication of field devices. Their study also provides an estimate of the costs in terms of time and storage requirements for a selected platform.

Further details can be found in the publication:

  • [PDF] A. Veichtlbauer, M. Ortmayer, and T. Heistracher, “OPC UA Integration for Field Devices,” in Proceedings of the IEEE 15th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN 2017), Emden, Germany, 2017. to appear.
    author = {Armin Veichtlbauer and Martin Ortmayer and Thomas Heistracher},
    title = {{OPC UA Integration for Field Devices}},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE 15th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN 2017)},
    year = {2017},
    address = {Emden, Germany},
    month = jul,
    note = {to appear.},
    pdf = {http://www.en-trust.at/papers/Veichtlbauer17a.pdf},

Presentation “Digital Salzburg” at the European Forum Alpbach

The masterplan for ICT in Salzburg was presented at the European Forum in Alpbach on August 25, 2017. We are excited that Energy Informatics is part of the strategy for future ICT in Salzburg.

Dominik Engel presented the vision of the Center for Secure Energy Informatics to be established in Salzburg.

For more information see https://www.itg-salzburg.at/topics/salzburger-wissenschaftstreff-in-alpbach-2/?lang=DE (in German).

Presentation of Energy Informatics as a focus field in the future of Salzburg’s ICT strategy: the Governor of Salzburg, Wilfried Haslauer, Environmental Secretary Martina Berthold and Head of Center Dominik Engel. (c) ITG/Zinner

Successful PhD Defense

Today, Christian Neureiter has successfully defended his PhD thesis on “A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart Grid” at the University of Oldenburg. Congratulations, Dr. Neureiter!

Models for the energy revolution

Keeping an overview in the Smart Grid

The realization of the Smart Grid plays a fundamental role towards implementing the turnaround in energy revolution. However, since the electricity network is very complex, it is necessary to provide a working basis through abstracted models for all involved parties.

To fulfil this need, Christian Neureiter and colleagues of the Josef Ressel Center recently developed a tool for the model-based development and evaluation of Smart Grid architectures. Based on the popular modeling platform Enterprise Architect from Sparx Systems, it also succeeded in combining European and American standards and concepts for the Smart Grid.

In the meantime, not only energy generators from Austria and Germany, but also from Italy, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico rely on the innovative tool from Austria.


On tour with NoSE2017

Christian Neureiter is attending the Nordic Systems Engineering Tour 2017 and talks about his main field of expertise ‘A Domain Specific and Model Based Systems Engineering Approach for Smart Grid’ in Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Warshaw.

You can find Christians presentation here: 2017-05-xx-NoSE2017
more updates are coming soon!

A report on the Event in Helsinki can be found here: Report on NoSE2017 Monday,  May15th

Many thanks to our partners for supporting Christians tour:
GfSE Gesellschaft für Systems Engineering e.V.
successfactory systems engineering gmbH

Blockchain technology: hype or universal remedy?

Blockchain Technology is currently resounded throughout the land. Although it was initially introduced to support the digital currency Bitcoin, this decentralized technology cannot only be used for the financial section, but also for other areas of business.

At the moment, as can often be observed for new promising technologies, block chain technology is hyped as a universal remedy for all domains. In order to find out for which applications blockchains can be used, compared to established, centralized technologies, Dominik Engel and Simon Kranzer organized a workshop „Silver Bullet Blockchain-Technologie?“ with domain experts for interested participants from science and industry.

In the practical workshop, it was shown how a simple Bitcoin-based blockchain can be set up. The participants could mine (i.e., create new coins) the digital currency on their own computers and exchange them with other participants.
As a reality check, use cases from the energy sector were analyzed and the possibilities and limitations of the blockchain technology for this sector were discussed.

In three expert talks, the topic blockchains was highlighted from different view points:

Fabian Knirsch, lecturer at ITS and scientist at the Josef Ressel Center for User-Centric Smart Grid Privacy, Security and Control discussed the combination of privacy-enhancing technologies and blockchain technology for applications in the smart grid. Furthermore, a new promising method was proposed. A special focus was on the possibility to replace a central trusted party by decentralized trust through blockchains.

Tobias Hoffmann from BTC.com explained the foundations of the Bitcoin technology, i.e., mining, chaining of blocks, the required hardware as well as future trends such as smart contracts.

Erwin Smole, CSO and co-founder of Grid Singularity spoke about blockchain technology as an enabler for the energy sector. The successful Austrian startup uses Etherium as a platform for applications on the energy market.

DASPEOS – new research project has been started

The digitalization of the energy domain is a key factor for a successful energy system transformation. Intelligent energy systems – Smart Grids – will enable the large scale use of distributed, renewable energy resources. Moreover, Smart Grids will foster important applications such as electric mobility and Smart Home solutions.

An important topic is handling of data that is collected by ICT systems. Analysis of these data will revolutionize the energy sectors business processes and models. Since these processes need the participation of end-users, their acceptance and trust is an important prerequisite for which in turn the protection of end-users privacy is essential.

Therefore, researchers of the study courses ITS and AIS will investigate in the research project DASPEOS how data analytics can be combined with privacy enhancing technologies (PETs).
“The known benefits of digitalization are opposed to legal and societal data protection requirements, that need to be taken into account in the data collection process, e.g. in smart metering”, Dominik Engel explains. “Privacy enhancing technologies can fulfill these requirements, especially for smart metering.”
Together with Günther Eibl the data protection expert will support the researchers Fabian Knirsch and Sebastian Burkhart in the integration of PETs for energy data analyses and prototypical implementation for selected application domains.

In the data analytics part together with partner Fact AI KG Cornelia Ferner will search for ways to apply these concepts to machine learning algorithms. Particularly deep learning and representation learning will be considered as it is an area in which previous knowledge has been gathered through several research projects.
“Fascinating methods exist that distribute information in such a way, that the desired use of information and privacy protections will not interfere each other.” explains Stefan Wegenkittl. However, these methods are only rarely used up to date.

The industry partners Salzburg AG, Salzburg Wohnbau and Siemens Salzburg support the project with their expertise in the development of functional applications.
The results from the DASPEOS project will form the basis for the digital transformation of business processes in Salzburgs energy domain.