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Gridchain: An Auditable Blockchain for Smart Grid Data Integrity and Immutability

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019888
Agency Tracking Number: 245767
Amount: $200,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 05a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001941
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-03-31
Small Business Information
320 Whittington PKWY, STE 117, Louisville, KY, 40222-4917
DUNS: 877380530
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Bin Xie
 (502) 321-2043
Business Contact
 Bin Xie
Phone: (502) 321-2043
Research Institution
We have been witnessed the Industroyer power grid cybersecurity attack in Ukraine’s power system in which attackers controlled the substation’s circuit breakers and protection relays. In 2018, CyberwarCon forum in Washington, DC reported that a variety of hacker groups (e.g., Russian Energetic Bear) have been targeting to the U.S. power grids. For defending these attacks, grid data integrity and immutability must be maintained in the all phases of data generation, delivery, store, and consumption. However, it is still a security problem. To fill up this security gap, InfoBeyond propose Gridchain (An Auditable Blockchain for Smart Grid Data Integrity and Immutability) that advocates blockchain technology to achieve grid data integrity and immutability. Specifically, the proposed Gridchain has three software components: (i) Data Feeding Authentication (DFA), (ii) Grid Blockchain, and (iii) Auditor. DFA integrates OpenFMB to retrieve the data of interests from endpoints and securely feed to blockchain contracts. It also provides a means to securely feed external data (e.g., fee) into blockchain with authenticity. Grid Blockchain employs a two-layer Ethereum structure (e.g., Macro and Micro Contracts) to achieve high throughput transactions in support of a large scale grid network. Further, Auditor is an online auditing module to add an additional security to the top of the build-in blockchain security. It analyzes the contracts to detect blockchain misbehaviors from attackers. Gridchain is innovative: (i) It is the first attempt that combines OpenFMB and Software Guard Extension (SGX) technology to enable that the grid data generated at endpoints are trustworthily fed into the blockchain ecosystem; (ii) It is the first attempt that uses auditing technology to prevent misbehavior (e.g., mishandling smart contracts) caused by attackers.Gridchain is designed for the capabilities to ensure grid data integrity and immutability. It addresses the urgent requirements of national power systems to improve grid security and resilience against cybersecurity attacks. Once developed as COTS/GOTS products, it provides significant values for DoE and power industry: National Power Grid Security: America’s electric grid is critical for national security, economy, and society. Gridchain provides a new method for grid data protection of integrity and immutability to a new level by taking advantage of blockchain technology. A high level of power grid data protection is especially more important to U.S. military mission operations and defense. Smart Grid Service Security: Gridchain improves the smart grid service security that protect the service availability and efficiency. It promotes economical and clean energy distribution that securely integrates communication, advanced control methods, and decision support using grid data. Power Grid Cost and Operational Error Reduction: Gridchain reduces the cost by greatly eliminating the need for system operators to manage the smart grid. Moreover, human errors can be greatly eliminated as the transactions are initiated using self-enforced grid contracts.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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