Millions of people around the world have started to adopt a more environmentally friendly and conscious consumption behaviour to combat the global climate crisis. Besides increased demand for carbon-neutral products and services, consumers are also demanding more insights into how a product has been sourced and how the product found its way throughout the supply chain.
Ensuring whether products, commodities, and resources have been produced and transported in an environmentally friendly way is often very difficult when dealing with supply chains that pass through various geographical locations and jurisdictions before ending up with the end consumer. This is especially the case for commodities and resources with substantial fungibility - including Hydrogen.
Due to its high energy density, ease of transportation, and ability to be generated using various renewable resources - including wind, solar, and hydropower -, it is generally accepted that green hydrogen will play an important role as an energy carrier in a future decarbonised world. However, a significant portion of the hydrogen being produced today has been extracted from fossil fuels utilizing high energy and carbon-intensive processes - hence its name ‘Grey Hydrogen’ .
For Hydrogen to develop itself as a key energy carrier capable of driving the future energy transition, the logistics and transportation industry is in urgent need of a solution that allows intermediary buyers and end-consumers to unambiguously distinguish grey hydrogen from green hydrogen.
HydroLink utilises IoT devices in conjunction with specifically designed Smart Contracts. Information is captured from the hydrogen’s production process as well as data across the entire value chain. As a result, end consumers can be guaranteed about the origin and sustainable nature of their product. By embedding the facility’s (verified) equipment with various IoT-connected devices, a Smart Contract is capable of monitoring the state of the underlying production process and determining whether Hydrogen is being produced in an environmentally friendly way.
The carbon footprint, or lack thereof, of hydrogen production methods, is the most significant part of the value chain in determining the classification of hydrogen. However, to obtain data sufficient to definitely categorise a given unit of hydrogen, required for complete certification, hydrogen must be traced throughout the entire value chain. HydroLink employs state-of-the-art sensory equipment is capable of accurately tracking the cargo's geolocation and environmental conditions - including temperature, humidity, and pressure levels -, thereby enabling the contract to monitor and record the hydrogen’s journey throughout the supply chain.
Trading partners can agree on a series of clauses that need to be included in the Smart Contract at its moment of inception. These clauses may refer to the limits of critical environmental parameters that may or may not be breached, as well as specific requirements that need to be met during the green hydrogen’s production process. In addition, meta-data such as the maximum number of allowed intermediate supply chain partners, the expected cargo’s shipment and delivery dates, as well as the unit price or any potential monetary penalties may be included in the Smart Contract’s execution logic.
Upon signature by both parties, the monetary funds related to the trading agreement are transferred to a temporary escrow payment account that may become available to the buyer when the hydrogen has been delivered successfully. In addition, the entire cargo’s history - including data about the production process and its global supply chain journey - is exposed to both the seller and the buyer. Depending on the initial contractual agreements that were made between both trading partners, should one of the predetermined clauses have been breached, the contract will either be declined in an automated way, or a penalty will be deducted from the seller’s accounts receivable.
Smart contracts and the Internet of Things have independently developed themselves as foundational technologies of the 21st century. The HydroLink Platform leverages the transparency and immutability of blockchain technology with the scalability and connectivity of the Internet-of-Things to accelerate the transition to a green-hydrogen economy. The HydroLink economic model has been developed to monetarily reward HLNK holders to incentivize active community participation and foster a collaborative environment.