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30 April, 2021 - 12:06 By Tony Quested

Quantum leap in battery power revolution via Cambridge-Germany alliance

Cambridge Quantum Computing has partnered with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to explore how quantum computing could help develop the techniques and methods required to build better, more efficient and powerful batteries to transform future energy utilisation.

DLR, the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany, will use CQC’s quantum machine learning algorithms to create multi-scale simulations of a whole battery cell on a quantum computer.

The simulation of a battery requires modelling of a battery cell at different scales – the atomical, molecular and macroscopic. This partnership will explore multi-scale simulations, which are considered a viable alternative for rendering full 3D models.

This will help to simulate different materials and fuel cell types and evidence how even the smallest of changes to the material, structure and build of a battery impacts its performance.

Increasing the power, storage and efficiency of batteries has huge potential to revolutionise global industries, from enabling a greater shift to greener energy solutions, to eventually reducing our reliance on lithium, which experts estimate may run out by 2025.

Improving battery cells has an important role to play in mobile and portable application, such as smartphones, wearable electronic devices, and electric cars, as well as in decentralised solar storage and frequency stabilisation of the energy grid. Battery research could also eventually reduce the industry’s reliance on lithium – the aterial used in commercial batteries.

DLR has previously used classical computer modelling to research a range of different battery types, including lithium ion and beyond-lithium technologies.

This is one of the earliest works combining partial differential equation models for battery simulation and near-term quantum computing. Using CQC’s software development framework for execution on NISQ (Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum) computers, DLR will render its quantum simulations on an IBM Q quantum computer.

DLR is the Federal Republic of Germany’s research centre for aeronautics and space. It uses the expertise of its 55 research institutes and facilities to develop solutions to global challenges, climate, mobility and technology. 

The DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics performs research in the field of efficient energy storage systems that conserve natural resources and next generation energy conversion technologies with a staff of 180 scientific and technical employees, engineers and doctoral candidates. 

The spectrum of activities ranges from theoretical studies to laboratory work for fundamental research and to the operation of pilot plants. At the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) the department of Computational Electrochemistry is working on theory-based material, electrode, and cell design for batteries.

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