Blockchain Project Wins Dutch International Energy Hackathon

Industry: Eco-friendly Alternatives

Blockchain powered Ecocoin won the first H4ckEnergy hackathon in Groningen, Netherlands by building an IBM Hyperledger energy grid for consumers buy and sell energy.

Groningen, Netherlands (PRUnderground) October 19th, 2016

After a full weekend and 48 intense hours of collaboration, excitement and solution-finding, the best idea according to a jury of industry experts was a project called EcoCoin at Hackenergy 2016.

The hackathon was sponsored by ENGIE Nederland,  Energy Academy Europe, the City and Province of Groningen – and backed by Groningen’s IBM Client Innovation Center (CIC).

“It was a great event, bringing the energy transition where it belongs: with people who want to work on our future, and a great way to connect knowledge, innovation and business. We look forward to welcoming new energy business ventures and to hosting a following edition!” stated Maurits Alberda, Manager Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Energy Academy Europe.

Brendon Geils (USA), Simon Appel (Germany) and Hodge Hodgson (Germany) – the three hackers from the winning team, built a Blockchain-fueled peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading system on the open source Hyperledger Blockchain managed by the Linux Foundation of which IBM is a significant partner.

Similar to other projects that have been worked on for over a year, such as the Transactive Grid being built by LO3 Energy and ConsenSys in the USA, EcoCoin was constructed in 25 hours as the team spent the first day brainstorming and formulating the idea.

“The first night we spent the entire night brainstorming then by 11am the next day we conceived the idea,” said Brendon Geils, one of the hackers. “At that point we had 25 hours left to hack – and we did it in the next 25 hours.”

“The use cases are various,” stated Hodge Hodgson, “One is that we can bring individual producers and consumers of energy, whether that be solar or be that from combined heat and power or whatever source together and the other one is that we can whitelabel the tool for intermediaries like the utilities in order to have their foot in the door and keep customer retention.”

It was unsure at press time if the team would take the 5000 euro cash prize or alternatively opt to enter the startup accelerator programme called Energy Venture Lab/Startup Fast Track, backed by  energy multinational ENGIE, Groningen University/VentureLab North, Hanze UAS and the Province of Groningen.

But they do plan to attend Ultrahack 2016 in Helsinki in November – an international hackathon league with winners from more than a dozen other hackathons in Europe competing for a share of over one million euro in investment funds.  This was arranged by Hacked in Groningen Hackathon League in partnership with Futuretournaments Oy in Finland and the Ecocoin team will receive a 1000 euro grant for travel, accommodation as well as tickets to attend the Slush festival after Ultrahack – one of the largest tech events in the Nordics.

Richard Kastelein, from Stichting Hackitarians who organised the event said that Ecocoin’s project was amazing and deserved to win as they really had a working prototype at the end of the event.

“There is a lot of fresh innovation being done in the area around peer to peer energy trading, Blockchain, AI and Iot,” stated Kastelein. “And these digital nomads really grabbed onto the concept, ran with it and nailed it.”

Hackers from Germany, Spain, USA, UK and the Netherlands attended the event, held in Groningen, an Hanseatic student city in the Northern Netherlands and there were nine presentations in total at the end of the event.

Best Design was won by Hack the Truck, Best Technology was won by Joris and Best Commercial Concept was won by UU-IoT with their James Project – and all received 400 euro in cash prizes for their work.


H4ckenergy 2016  brought together the challenges faced by the world in the transition of energy with the people who have the passion and ability to solve them. Participants gathered for 48 hours to engage in a energy-related problem solving pressure cooker and workshop.

The event was held at the Energy Barn on the Hanzehogeschool campus at the Energy Transition Centre (EnTranCe) and sponsored by ENGIE Nederland, Energy Academy Europe,  Gemeente Groningen and the Province of Groningen, H4ckenergy was fueled by IBM and organised by Stichting Hackitarians (foundation) and part of the Hacked in Groningen hackathon league.



Press Contact: Richard Kastelein, Stichting Hackitarians,

About ENGIE Nederland

ENGIE Nederland consists of ENGIE Energie and ENGIE Services and is a leading energy and services company that employs 6.400 people. In 2015 ENGIE Nederland achieved revenues of €1.85 billion. We are leading the way and establishing the energy transition through innovative and sustainable energy solutions. We give direction to this change by helping customers (companies, institutions and consumers) to make the transition from fossil to 100% sustainable and the movement towards decentralization, as quickly and cost effectively as possible. ENGIE Nederland is part of the ENGIE Group that employs 154,950 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €69.9 billion in 2015.

About Energy Academy Europe

Energy Academy Europe, centre of excellence for energy transition and located at Zernike Campus Groningen in the Netherlands, connects projects, partners and networks to work on the energy transition under three pillars: education, research and innovation. They are growing towards system integration with the ultimate goal of transitioning to a more sustainable energy system. By 2022, they aim to have 3,000 students involved in energy education.

About Stichting Hackitarians

Stichting Hackitarians is a Dutch foundation that focussed on running innovation events and hackathons around such topics as Robotics, AI, Big Data, Health, Blockchain, Auto, TV, eCommerce and more. They have run events in London, San Francisco, Berlin, Brussels. Utrecht, and Groningen, and partnered with the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, ENGIE, GM, Amazon and other major brands.

About IBM Client Innovation Center Groningen

IBM’s first Client Innovation Center in the Benelux is located in Groningen, Netherlands.  It’s an open atmosphere, a fast-paced and dynamic community culture focused on knowledge sharing, networking, mentoring and coaching where people cooperate and learn from each other in an open and collaborative culture and work closely together to create technologically advanced solutions for leading businesses.

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About Stichting Hackitarians

We are The Hackitarians. We want to make the world a better place. By Hacking It. That is What We Do. We Design, Build and Run Hackathons

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