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MBA project leads to blockchain patent

By Jose Gonzalo - Posted on 22 June 2022

Jose Gonzalo's final MBA project united issues he saw in his daily work with one of his passions - blockchain technology - and resulted in a patent being filed for a new procedure. Here, he explains the story.

At this time last year, I was trying to finalise my group and individual assignments for the final sessions of the Iberdrola MBA in the Global Energy Industry, without forgetting about the daily activities at the office and at home. A good thing was that the subjects that required more studying time were already over; however, the ultimate test between the MBA diploma and my situation at that time was really the final project or thesis.

I chose my project topic several months before and - thanks to the Project Methodology Class, Workbook and meetings with teachers - it was relatively easy to draft some ideas, milestones and interests I wanted to capture in my work once the topic was selected. I decided that if I had to spend many hours working on a thesis during my summer vacation period while being at some Spanish beaches, it had to be something worth and enjoyable. Therefore, I decided to merge an inefficient situation I was witnessing in my daily work - the Power Transmission Interconnection Procedures in the US - together with one of my passions – blockchain technology. And that it is how my thesis “Power Network Interconnection Optimization Through Blockchain” started its first steps following the methodology and planning recommendations already mentioned under the guidance of my project supervisor Daniel Broby.

Many hours of research, reaching out to experts, putting together data and writing the actual document were spent until finally, the dissertation was ready to pass the Turnitin check on August 20, 2021, and to be submitted the following day.

My dissertation proposes a new procedure for managing interconnection requests to the existing Transmission Power Network in the US, whether new generation plants or Transmission facilities, which are currently regulated mostly by Independent System Operators (ISOs), by using blockchain technology. The new proposed project is proposed to be modeled and all necessary studies to be performed by the developer requesting the approval for the Interconnection to the Power Grid. Using a consensus algorithm involving the main stakeholders in the process (ISOs, Transmission Owner, other developers, etc), the interconnection proposal is evaluated and, if approved, then the new model is incorporated to the blockchain for other requestors to use for future project proposals.

My supervisor and I discussed the possibility of patenting this new procedure and agreed to do it. I hired a specialised company and we worked with them so a Non-Provisional Utility Patent Application could be filed to the US Patent Office. On April 29 this year, the patent application was filed and now the “invention” proposed is “patent pending” until we hear back from the US Patent Office.

The patent application may or may not be accepted as proposed, but whatever the US Patent Office decision and the outcome, I felt a need to contribute to modernise a very conservative and miserly innovative industry as the Power Transmission is (it has not changed much in its 140 years of history), when working on this dissertation; not directly with the Power Grid itself, but with a process that has become a bottle-neck for new projects that bring the needed growth and upgrade of the existing Power Transmission Network. So, if this “invented process” is adopted completely or partially - or at least inspire other people to try to find out other ways to improve the current situation - my motivations for putting extra effort and love in this work will have been satisfied.

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