Open-source microgrid project aims to revolutionize energy networking

February 19, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Open-source microgrid project aims to revolutionize energy networking
LF Energy, a Linux Foundation nonprofit seeking to accelerate the energy transition of the world's grids and transportation, has announced a microgrid initiative to automate the peer-to-peer distribution of renewable energy.

The organization, together with its newest member, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL), says the project - called Hyphae (Greek for the word "web") - is aimed at making microgrids more resilient in the face of impacts on energy resources and infrastructure from climate change and natural disaster. It plans to do so by transitioning Sony CSL's existing open source microgrid management software, Autonomous Power Interchange System (APIS) - which automatically and efficiently distributes locally-produced renewable energy over a DC grid - to work with AC grids.

With resilient, peer-to-peer microgrid energy trading, say the organizations, even the most remote communities will be able to store and distribute energy autonomously without connecting to large-scale power stations or electrical distribution networks.

"Sony CSL is a subsidiary of one of the world's premier companies," says Dr. Shuli Goodman, Executive Director of LF Energy, "and by launching Hyphae with us, they are making a profound statement about their intention to collaborate and lead to solve the world's most complicated problem - decarbonization. Working with Sony CSL will help us spur energy transformation in developed countries, as well as bring electrification to energy-poor corners of the planet."

As the world races to develop and build microgrids that are resilient and flexible, say the organizations, an open-source, automated microgrid controller and peer-to-peer trading platform like Hyphae will allow for faster innovation while decreasing costs for everyone. Partnering with Sony CSL brings LF Energy closer to its goal of building the first interoperable AC- and DC-ready microgrid that is self-contained, operational off-grid and able to connect to an electrical distribution network with utility oversight.

Hyphae, says the organization, offers three distinguishing features:

  • Flexible grid expansion: Because power interchange is autonomous, the microgrid can be expanded flexibly, without having to redesign the system from the ground up.
  • Effective use of renewables: Because the physical peer-to-peer power interchange balances supply and demand between decentralized power generators and

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