Quantum Computing in the Energy & Utility Sectors
(Smart-Energy) Energy and utility companies are starting to look to the quantum world for the increasingly complex computational challenges facing the sector.
Load balancing is becoming more and more complex as the power system decentralises. As the numbers of distributed energy resources and other grid connected devices grow and consumption trends become more erratic, the computations become more difficult and time consuming, making this a prime use case for the power of quantum computing.
As illustration of the potential of quantum computing in the energy sector, a study was conducted on both quantum and classical CPU computers of the grid optimisation use case of facility location, i.e. determining the optimum locations of facilities such as generation assets to minimise the construction, operation and energy transportation costs.
The study run for three up to 20 facilities and locations found that the computational time for the CPU core grew exponentially with the number of facilities. At 14 facilities, the quantum processor was 40 times faster taking 16 minutes compared to the CPU core’s over 11 hours. For more than 14 facilities, the single CPU reached its 12-hour timeout limit without achieving a solution.
A use case that is attracting interest is next generation batteries. Daimler and Mitsubishi Chemical are independently partnering with IBM, Daimler on lithium-sulphur technology and Mitsubishi on lithium-air technology.
The aim in what is ultimately a chemical problem is to fully understand the underlying reactions to then model new and more efficient batteries.