The US Department of Energy (DoE) is now looking into blockchain tech.
According to a research area overview document published in late December, the DoE – which is tasked largely with the security and oversight of the US nuclear industry and nuclear weapons stockpile – is seeking research proposals "for the realization of robust fossil energy systems" incorporating blockchain.
The solicitation for proposals is the first for the DoE, though other departments in the US government have in research projects and startups to date. A number of startups in the space are focused on the application of the technology to new ways of distributing or funding power.
According to the DoE, cybersecurity is one major area of interest.
The DoE said in the notice:
"Proposals are sought to develop novel concepts for energy systems that rely on blockchain technology to assure robust systems that are less susceptible to cyber-attack. Direct use of real-time measurement data from sensor networks and/or “smart” components that feature embedded instrumentation or other enabling technologies that support the industrial 'Internet of Things (IoT)' is strongly encouraged."
While it's not immediately clear to what extent the DoE would put any successful pitches into practice, the document suggests that the department is seeking detailed approaches to the technology.
"Project objectives will include software development, preliminary testing to establish proof of concept, and an approach for full integration of the blockchain-based software with system hardware at lab-scale and/or pilot scale," the DoE said.