“If it’s broken, find a way to fix it.”
For Somaya Taheri, a former postdoc fellow at the University of Manchester, this became alarmingly evident when analyzing data on climate change and poverty in her research at the School of Environment, Education and Development.
Finding out that many people could not afford to heat their homes due to the disrupted cycle in the energy market, Taheri did not want to close his eyes and set out to solve the problem.
She began to see artificial intelligence (AI) and the blockchain as ways that could shift the use of renewable energy into the mainstream of the fragmented UK energy market. A few months later, in 2017, UrbanChain was born.
The company is now in the process of raising funds for Series A and will soon move its employees from the Greenheys building to a 91,000-square-foot base in Manchester Science Park worth £ 21 million.
Taheri tells TechBlast: “In the first two years of UrbanChain, we participated in 30 contests and won everything that was an unconventional way to raise funds for early-stage business.
“Since then, growth and ambitions to expand abroad, we have been in dialogue with various investors and are excited to take the next steps in our path.”
Towards the end of last year UrbanChain welcomed the Together Housing Association into its P2P alternative energy market.
In 2021, two hotels were also included, joining the long list of corporate consumers who have already made the transition.
The UrbanChain P2P green energy exchange model allows consumers to place a precise order for electricity and on a generator to fulfill that order.
In other words, they buy and sell green energy among themselves in an alternative, safe and unique energy market.
The reason for the growth of UrbanChain is threefold. As part of the UrbanChain platform and market, consumers buy 100% green energy, save at least 25% on electricity bills, while power generators earn at least 25% better profits and earn more money in the medium and long term.
“As the UK’s only renewable energy exchange, we are the future of the energy market,” says Taheri. “And we’re here now, have been for a while.
“There is a cost of living crisis, and energy bills play a very significant role. We launched UrbanChain five years ago with a mission to reduce fuel poverty and fix a broken inefficient energy market model.
“This is a model that in principle remains the same, and consumers are suffering from rising bills.
“In fact, green energy is affected by the ups and downs of the gas market. Renewable energy sources are periodic, and this green energy enters the wholesale market before customers buy it at much higher prices. We have eliminated this by creating a peer market. “
She adds: “With this in mind, corporations are certainly reviewing their energy use towards zero targets, and we are in a good position to include them in the exchange of renewable energy, given the number of renewable energy generators we have in our exchange. ».
UrbanChain’s clients include local governments, housing associations, corporations from industries including commercial real estate, retail, manufacturing, hospitality and leisure. Other customers are generators (producers of electricity) and asset managers.
This summer, the company plans to move to Base, a hub for Industry 4.0, computer engineering, energy and low-carbon technology, robotics, light manufacturing, materials science, gaming and animation.