The Free University of Brussels & Hydrobox - partners in developing SMART power plants

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Already at a very young age, Professor Johan Loeckx became interested in artificial intelligence, which eventually led him to a career at the renowned Artificial Intelligence Lab of the Free University of Brussels.

While also interested in infrastructure development, Johan noticed that within these ventures there was a lack of follow up or operational governance which often lead to expensive repairs and pullback from investors. In early 2017, Loeckx conjured the idea that by using AI and the transparency of blockchain technology, investor confidence could be greatly improved by providing real time data and attract potential private investments by showing financial return.

A few months later, he met Thomas Poelmans, social entrepreneur and founder of Hydrobox, who was looking for a way to to limit human interventions to make power plants operations more reliable, efficient and provide greater transparency to all stakeholders involved. The two connected instantly and decided to develop this concept in Hydrobox' containerised hydro power plants.

Using smart sensors & artificial intelligence & blockchain technology in hydro power plants is a major technological and business innovation as it allows:

- Detailed monitoring of environmental conditions

- Real-time monitoring & forecasting of electricity production

- Benchmarking of operational efficiency of a site's performance

- Remote control & operation of the power plant and the grid

- Predictive maintenance to avoid downtime & ensure asset value preservation

- Use of blockchain to create transparency & trust towards investors, customers, government & other stakeholders

In september 2018, a joint team from Hydrobox & the University of Brussels travelled to Kenya to make Hydrobox' 25 kW pilot plant truly SMART. So far, the results are very promising and a v2 & v3 are already in development!

Hydrobox is proud to partner with the highly reputable University of Brussels in this area and we look forward to jointly making our hydropower plants even smarter.