(Electrive) In a two-year project called QuESt, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials are using a quantum computer to research new materials for more powerful batteries and fuel cells.
The project name QuESt stands for Quantum Computer Material Design for Electrochemical Energy Storage and Converters with Innovative Simulation Techniques. Specifically, the quantum computer will be used to simulate electrochemical processes inside energy storage devices. In the simulations, the scientists compare the quantum chemical interplay of various novel materials and electrode structures. Their goal is to achieve the highest possible chemical binding energies of the electrons in batteries. In fuel cells, hydrogen and oxygen should react with each other as efficiently as possible.
The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics is funding the project, which started in January 2021, with 1.5 million euros over two years. In addition to DLR and Fraunhofer IWM, Bosch GmbH and Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America are also involved in QuESt as associated partners. The project uses the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s IBM quantum computer, which is funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The special feature of QuESt is the use of a quantum computer for a very application-oriented task in materials research, DLR says. The project combines basic research with applied research in the field of energy storage.