Will quantum computing deliver a big leap forward for battery cells?


The Cologne-headquartered German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) in the UK is the latest pair to explore how quantum computing could help create better simulation models for battery development. The DLR is Germany’s research center for aeronautics and space.

Quantum computing

As IBM defines it, “Quantum computing harnesses the phenomena of quantum mechanics to deliver a huge leap forward in computation to solve certain problems.”

DLR will use CQC’s quantum algorithms for solving partial differential equation systems to render a one-dimensional simulation of a lithium-ion battery cell.

This will lay the groundwork for exploring multi-scale simulations of complete battery cells with quantum computers, which are considered a viable alternative for rendering full 3D models. A multi-scale approach incorporates information from different system levels (e.g., atomistic, molecular, and macroscopic) to make a simulation more manageable and realistic. That, in turn, will potentially accelerate battery research and development for a variety of sustainable energy solutions.

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

Boosting batteries

Improving battery cells has an important role to play in electric cars, green energy storage, and frequency stabilization of the energy grid. Battery research could also eventually reduce reliance on lithium.

DLR will render its quantum simulations on an IBM Q quantum computer using CQC’s software development framework for execution on Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum computers.

Other organizations are putting their heads together to improve batteries with quantum computing. For example, IBM and Daimler announced a similar study in January 2020, and Samsung and Honeywell paired up earlier this year.

The more heads working on this, the better, as battery demand for electric cars and renewable energy storage is going to skyrocket.

Photo: IBM

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