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NR-Power Lab Collaborates with CollaboGate Japan and Sassor to Start Building the World's First VPP System Using Decentralized Identifiers

Optimizing control of energy resources with AI to realize profit maximization

September 12, 2023
NR-Power Lab Co., Ltd.
Ricoh Company, Ltd.
This press release is the English translated version of the Japanese press release issued on August 9.

NR-Power Lab Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “NR-Power Lab”), a jointly invested company with NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (hereinafter “NGK”) and Ricoh Company, Ltd. (hereinafter “Ricoh”), announced that collaborating with Japanese IoT start-up CollaboGate Japan, Inc. (hereinafter “CollaboGate Japan”) and Sassor Inc. (hereinafter “Sassor”). NR-Power Lab has started building a proprietary virtual power plant (VPP) system to realize tight security at low cost using decentralized identifiers (DID)*. Aiming for early commercialization, the companies will complete building of the system within fiscal 2023 and begin field trials from fiscal 2024.

A VPP uses digital technology to perform integrated control of various energy resources, functioning like a large power plant. These resources include electricity generated through renewable energy sources, storage batteries, and electricity consumed by facilities and homes. To make effective use of energy with a VPP, it is essential to have the capability to handle diverse energy resources and a system to optimize the energy resource portfolio. When building a VPP system, system reliability is important, while operation costs, including security, also need to be reduced.

The VPP system to be built by NR-Power Lab uses AI to predict the amounts of power that will be consumed and generated, and then automatically perform optimal control of multiple and diverse energy resources into a portfolio that maximizes profit. Furthermore, even when energy resources have been expanded, the use of DIDs enables an accurate grasp of data provided from each individual energy resource. This makes it possible to reduce the amounts of capital investment and personnel that were needed with a conventional centralized identity management system, so that the reliability of energy sources can be ensured while costs are also reduced. This is the first time in the world that DIDs have been used to ensure energy resource reliability.

NR-Power Lab will play a central role in constructing the system, tying together the knowledge and technologies of each company. CollaboGate Japan's DID platform “NodeX” and Sassor's energy resource optimal control AI “ENES” will be combined with NGK's storage battery control technology and Ricoh's blockchain technology and other IT and digital application expertise.

As of the end of July 2023, a total of eight companies are to participate in the field trials from fiscal 2024, including IHI Corporation and TAKUMA Co., Ltd. as co-creation partners. The plan is to work with co-creation partners to secure diverse energy resources and verify control methods and accuracy improvements, while also conducting an economic viability study and so forth. The call for co-creation partners will continue as the expansion of services proceeds.

NR-Power Lab will strive to solve issues associated with spreading renewable energy, which is essential to realizing a decarbonized society. It will do so by combining the strengths of our co-creation partners and harnessing their physical assets, digital technologies, and services. Through these efforts, NR-Power Lab aims to contribute to realizing a sustainable society.

Through businesses that integrate both companies' existing technologies and expertise, NGK and Ricoh will support the widespread adoption and introduction of renewable energy and contribute to realizing a sustainable society.

* Decentralized Identifier (DID):
A technology for managing the IDs of subject individuals (or corporations or pieces of equipment), using technology such as a blockchain. This enables individuals to control access to their personal data while communicating safely with various people, services, and equipment.

Co-Creation Partners

Company name Role in co-creation
IHI Corporation Examination and economic evaluation of utilizing a microgrid
Japan, Inc.
Provision of NodeX DID platform
Sassor Inc. Provision and joint development of ENES AI for energy resource optimization control
TAKUMA Co., Ltd. Examination and economic evaluation of utilizing a waste material power plant
Palcosmo Co., Ltd. Examination and economic evaluation of utilizing an air conditioning system, ascertainment of usage amount of each type of energy
Hokkaido Electric
Power Co., Inc.
Construction of VPP system and observation of field trial
Examination and economic evaluation of utilizing a solar power generation system paired with an energy storage system
Laplace System
Co., Ltd.
Examination of optimal operation of solar power system and energy storage system using a VPP, and economic evaluation thereof.

| About NR-Power Lab |

NR-Power Lab started operations in February 2023 as a joint venture of NGK INSULATORS, LTD. and Ricoh Company, Ltd. with the objective of developing electricity-related services. NR-Power Lab aims to be a company that contributes to the realization of a sustainable society. Specifically, by combining NGK's control technologies for storage batteries with Ricoh's expertise in utilization of IoT and digital technologies, NR-Power Lab aims to be a company that can help to meet the challenge of spreading renewable energy, which is essential to realizing a decarbonized society, by combining physical products, digital technologies, and services.

“Specific Approaches to the Challenge of Spreading Renewable Energy through Co-Creation” (Japanese only)
Progress of the VPP Business and Construction of a Proprietary System

| About Ricoh |

Ricoh is a leading provider of integrated digital services and print and imaging solutions designed to support digital transformation of workplaces, workspaces and optimize business performance.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh's global operation reaches customers in approximately 200 countries and regions, supported by cultivated knowledge, technologies, and organizational capabilities nurtured over its 85-year history. In the financial year ended March 2023, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,134 billion yen (approx. 16.0 billion USD).

It is Ricoh's mission and vision to empower individuals to find Fulfillment through Work by understanding and transforming how people work so we can unleash their potential and creativity to realize a sustainable future.

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