Renewable Energy Platform for Swiss Axpo

As one of the very early traditional Swiss corporates, Axpo wanted to innovate and enter the energy market with a renewable energy platform and contracted us to help them in 2016. We said yes of course!


From idea to spinoff entering full production

Over three phases we helped our client Axpo to go from an idea to incrementally more and more advanced versions for their renewable energy platform. Our focus was primarily on the overall technology advisory as well as engineering the backend systems on AWS Cloud and the Ethereum blockchain.

Renewable energy and a sustainable world

This is one of the most important and hot topics in the world and the inevitable future we are moving into. Blockchain technology and energy has been a hyped topic since 2015 and onwards, however, it's not the silver bullet to this industry either that has a lot that can be done with other digital technologies and simply focusing on the business side and enabling consumers, both private and business to have access to green energy in a very easy way. This is why this project was extremely interesting from the very beginning.

Our responsibilities and deliverables with this client

  • Blockchain advisory. This was the main reason why our client contacted us back in 2016 because they needed experts in this new technology to guide them and understand what it means as well as how it could be used in their domain. We educated the whole team on what this technology is and the trade-offs which are key to understand especially in a domain like energy which is inherently today entralized due to the physical grids and how electricity needs to be managed as well as how it flows from production to consumption.
  • Ethereum blockchain smart contracts engineering. During the PoC and early versions of the platform our client wanted to explore how smart contracts work and what it means to their domain. We built two versions that relied on Ethereum smart contracts for settling energy in a peer-to-peer manner.
  • End-to-end solution architecture. From the very beginning we have been responsible for the overall solution architecture how it works, also guiding our client from their business perspective to how we need to build both user interfaces, APIs and services so that simplicity and usability is in focus.
  • Backend engineering. We built all backend systems and provided guidance to frontend developers to proper API design and usage as well as how to leverage technologies like Docker locally for development and testing against the full backend. We keep things very simple and use tools that allow us to build secure, scalable and service-oriented systems with high productivity. We're also heavy on both testing as well as automation with pipelines in order to make sure the quality is very high and that we can move fast.
  • Cloud solution architecture on AWS Cloud. We architected the production solution for the AWS Cloud which is what we advised our client move to in order to build a secure, scalable, robust and enterprise grade platform. In addition to security, an emphasis was on low operational efforts and costs so Serverless was our the recommended approach.
  • Advisory and project management. The way we work means we think about the big picture and overall delivery no matter if there are other parties involved too, because everything needs to play together in the end and we're not interested in blame games and being late. All versions of the platform was guided by us in terms of project management which we do in a very lean and agile way depending on how big the team is. We also connected our clients with all service providers they needed for their overall business to provide them the best service possible.
All versions delivered on time and very few bugs

This was an extremely satisfying outcome for all delivery deadlines and go-lives when everything just came together and worked. This of course had a big impact in the client later spinning out the whole business as the company :elblox. We're very happy and proud to have played a central role in this!




Blockchain Proof of Concept

In mid 2016 we started to discuss the ideas our client had to test out blockchain technology for energy. This is an exciting proposition however not very straight-forward and there are many things to understand from a business perspective how and even if this new technology even makes sense and most of all for what exactly. This is what the work around a PoC solution aimed to answer.



Buildout of solution for initial field tests in Germany

After the very successful secret PoC we delivered a production-grade solution to do real-world field tests for a German regional utility. This resulted in Tal.Market and another successful delivery from our side. Learnings from the PoC taken and adjusted the blockchain-related subsystems.



Enterprise grade production platform on the AWS cloud

The field tests were successful and now it was time to build "the real thing". Very exciting and we delivered a new overall version built from the ground up on the AWS Cloud to be on the right track for a secure, robust and scalable enterprise solution.



Further buildout of production platform

Successful launch in 2019 with the production platform and our AWS Cloud solution we engineered has been continued to be built out both by :elblox's own engineering team as well as by us.

Thank you for a great collaboration and all the best of luck with this very important mission of green energy!

It has been absolutely great to accompany a traditional Swiss enterprise to explore a cutting edge technology like blockchain around a vague idea to later spin out an entire new business for pushing green energy in order to make the world a better place.

Interested to learn more?

Check out their website to learn more about their current platform and services.


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