The Setting

Digital economic activity in Senegal is driving the need for access to affordable electricity.

The Solartainer® offers a solution. It is a self-contained solar smart microgrid, including solar panels, storage, satellite internet, and grid cabling. It is capable of bringing electricity, information, and financial services to off-grid rural villages with a population 4,000 people. This documentary gives more background on the solution.

Over 20 Solartainer® are currently powering villages with more than 100,000 people and counting. It’s a numbers game and comes down to cost-effectively scaling the funding side (cost of capital) and optimizing the impact of new and existing Solartainer® installations along the way.

#Connect2Evolve is an innovation project within Siemens driven by ingenuity and purpose. A community of innovators within Siemens started in 2016 with a vision that Electrification, Digitalization, and Automation can and must have positive impact on people’s lives — and an unstoppable curiosity how tokenization and new forms of decentralized organization play a role. Together with their network they are now planning a crowdfunding campaign to donate a Solartainer® to power a village in Senegal.

This is where you come in. How can we optimize the value and impact offered by this system?

The Challenge

As a token engineer, your first challenge is to forget about the token ;) and start thinking in systems. The Solartainer® Ecosystem is composed of:

  • Decision-making Agents
  • Flows of value created through energy consumption (information, energy, money)
  • System-influencing mechanisms such as the market for the price of energy, or the tokenization of Solartainer ownership.

A diagram of the system's agents and how they interact is below: Senegal Micro-grid Ecosystem

Each of the decision-making agents have their own goals (i.e. optimization functions), spanning from making money to providing the most people possible with electricity. The ecosystem itself has a goal as well: how can it distribute the value it creates most effectively such that the system can sustain itself and fulfill its purpose of affordable access to clean energy.

For the challenge, you will be provided with:

  • A System Definition: The full challenge document will give you more background about each of the entities in the picture above, including their motivations, interactions, and exchange of value with other entities in the system.
  • A System Model: A simple model of the flow of energy from Sun to Solartainer to user, with simple exchange mechanisms such as price-sensitive user purchase behavior and battery storage. The model is coded in python using cadCAD.
  • Energy Usage Data: The model outputs generated energy data including hourly Solartainer® production capacity, user demand, and battery levels for whatever time period selected. Every run of the model produces slightly different outputs, perfect for Monte Carlo simulations

And finally, your challenge:

Design a token mechanism around energy use and system ownership of a newly installed microgrid to optimize energy production, value exchange, and impact to the community.

This is a huge question and trying to answer the whole question will take lots of smart mini-solutions aggregated from many different sub-problems. Take this challenge and pick a sub-problem you want to solve. For example:

  • Tokenizing Usage: How can energy usage be tokenized? Should each kWh produced be represented as a token? Should tokens represent a ticket system which allows users to purchase a kWh at a market price? What will the token market look like at the micro-grid level, and how can it be integrated into a broader network?
  • Incentivizing Ownership: The Solartainer® starts off owning itself (benefit of being a donation!). Why and how should it distribute ownership of its own future energy production (and the money or value it brings!) to the broader ecosystem? How can community ownership of the Solartainer® improve value flows in the network?
  • Measuring Impact: This Solartainer® installation wouldn’t be possible without Siemens and their gaggle of crowdfunders. How can we measure the value of their donations and tie it to real energy production? How can we calculate and report each crowdfunder’s share of impact? Can impact be tokenized?

You and your team have a few options of how to tackle this challenge:

  1. cadCAD Modeling: Use the pre-formulated cadCAD model as a structure, design and implement new agent behaviors / token mechanisms, and measure the outcomes
  2. General Modeling: Use the data outputs of the provided model, build and measure a tokenized system of exchange outside of cadCAD
  3. Systems Design: Take a step back from the data and construct a new system definition (e.g. stock and flow diagram or differential specification) of how a token economy would change system behaviors
  4. Bring Your Own Challenge: Do any of the above for your own token engineering challenge (energy-related or otherwise!) using your own data

Your submission will be judged on a combination of your team’s technical Innovation (idea), creativity of solution, execution (code or system definition), and polish (representation of solution and presentation).

Modeling and simulation will be done using cadCAD, a tool for complex systems design recently open-sourced by BlockScience. We’ll be giving a workshop during the day on Saturday on how to design and build systems with cadCAD, and we’d recommend going through the tutorial available on their github repo before the weekend.

You can now find the whole challenge in the Challenge Statement Document! Join our Token Engineering telegram for any questions in the meantime, and check out our series of Token Engineering articles to meet our team and get more background on the project and challenge leading up to the hackathon.

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