LF Energy partners with Sony Computer Science Laboratories to launch open-source microgrid project

Source: press release, 16 February 2021

illustration: LF Energy
illustration: LF Energy

LF Energy, a Linux Foundation nonprofit seeking to accelerate the energy transition of the world’s grids and transportation systems through open source, along with its newest member, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL), a subsidiary of Sony Corporation, have announced Hyphae, a microgrid initiative to automate the peer-to-peer distribution of renewable energy.

With energy resources and infrastructure increasingly challenged to meet the coming impacts of climate change and natural disaster, Hyphae aims to make microgrids more resilient. It will do so by transitioning Sony CSL’s existing 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, 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, 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 – decarbonisation,” says Dr Shuli Goodman, Executive Director of LF Energy. “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, 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.

“By working with LF Energy, we see a path toward an interoperable, cloud-native, configurable microgrid that will revolutionise the world’s relationship with networking energy,” says Dr Hiroaki Kitano, president and CEO of Sony CSL. “We share the sense of urgency to act on climate issues, which is why we decided to turn a part of our decade-long research into open source, and to work with LF Energy. This is a call to action for the greatest companies in the world to work together to revolutionise the global energy landscape, including residential and industrial energy systems, power systems and the green electrification of transportation.”