The backstory of the name Hyphae (pronounced hai-fee)
Yes, let’s go all the way back! In between the first and the second of the five major extinction events, approximately 450 million years ago, fungi emerged. Biologically, hyphae are white filament-like threads that serve as the transport and communication mechanism connecting and facilitating resources under the ground between fungi, plants, trees, and the many organisms that makeup forest ecosystems. They are amongst the oldest life on the planet in terms of evolutionary intelligence and design patterns. Hyphae enables extraordinarily complex community building activities in a richly diverse environment.
Trees and plants grow using photosynthesis – by absorbing the light of the sun – they transform the sunlight into sugars and then send that energy into the earth to be shared by the community. We selected this name for the project as an acknowledgment that the grid of the future will not be a grid. Rather, it will be a vast interconnected network of energy supply and energy demand that benefits the sustainability of the whole. Much closer to a forest than to what we think of today as the “grid”. Like revitalizing a forest for consuming more CO2, growing microgrids will accelerate renewable energy supply.
The name Hyphae is also Greek for the word “web”. We feel that taken together, Hyphae is a fitting name for microgrid software that will enable the connection of buildings, homes, and energy-consuming devices to energy-producing devices like storage, EV batteries, and PV. At the core of the software is physical peer-to-peer (P2P) trading, much like what happens in a forest between trees.
We believe Hyphae is the seed contribution or foundation for a suite of energy web services that will be able to meet the explosion in flexibly built nano, mini, and microgrids.
With energy resources and infrastructure increasingly challenged to meet the coming impacts of climate change and natural disasters, Hyphae aims to make the grid more resilient and flexible with microgrids. By providing an Autonomous Power Interchange System (APIS), Hyphae automatically and efficiently distributes locally-produced renewable energy over a DC grid to interconnect with AC Grids. With resilient, physical 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.
As the world races to develop and build microgrids that are resilient and flexible, an open-source, automated microgrid controller and a physical peer-to-peer trading platform like Hyphae will allow for faster innovation while decreasing costs for everyone.
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 decentralized power storage equipment, it is possible to use renewable energy effectively despite fluctuations in the amount of power generated.
- Resilience: Because of these characteristics, it is possible to build a power system with high resilience.
Through working with contributors, we would like to expand Hyphae to add features and functionality that will enable a flexible approach to microgrids. In particular, the Hyphae Technical Steering Committee (TSC) welcomes collaboration with hardware partners to ensure an entirely interoperable system.