Two new energy projects aim to explore how new digital technology could transform the sector.
They are part of seven Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) projects that have collectively secured more than £3.6 million of investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The technology is essentially a series of databases which are shared between multiple parties and have the potential to make digital systems and services more transparent while maintaining high levels of security and privacy.
The best known use of DLT currently is in Bitcoin.
The Household Supplier Energy Market project will research how DLT can help democratise the UK’s energy market by allowing households generating energy to directly buy and sell from each other.
It received a grant of £459,000 and will be delivered by Lancaster University, the University of Exeter and EDF Energy.
The second energy DLT project will be run by Lancaster University, Newcastle University, ElectriCChain and GSMA.
It aims to design and test a platform for peer-to-peer electricity exchanges in East Africa with the aim of accelerating access to off-grid solar energy distribution.
It has received £485,000 in funding.
EPSRC Chief Executive, Professor Philip Nelson, said: “DLT may be synonymous with Bitcoin to many but as these projects show, it has disruptive potential across a wide range of products and services.
“If it delivers on its radical promise, it could make a significant impact on the economy and society.”
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) research projects in the UK have also recently been granted funding worth £6.1 million.