BMW Group, Airbus and Quantinuum present classical/quantum computation study of the ORR in fuel cells

Airbus, BMW Group and Quantinuum, world leaders in mobility and quantum applied sciences, have developed a hybrid quantum-classical workflow to hurry up future analysis utilizing quantum computer systems to simulate quantum programs, specializing in the chemical reactions of catalysts in gasoline cells.

In a brand new technical paper, “Applicability of Quantum Computing to Oxygen Discount Response Simulations”, the three companions report precisely modeling the oxygen discount response (ORR) on the floor of a platinum-based catalyst. The ORR is the chemical response within the course of that converts hydrogen and oxygen into water and electrical energy in a gasoline cell and it limits the effectivity of the method. It’s comparatively gradual and requires a considerable amount of platinum catalyst, so there may be nice curiosity and worth in higher understanding the underlying mechanisms concerned within the response.

Hydrogen is taken into account a promising power supply for low-carbon and sustainable mobility. Nonetheless, for extensive scale adoption, enhancements within the effectivity of hydrogen-to-electricity conversion are required. The kinetics of the electrocatalytic oxygen discount response (ORR) is the primary bottleneck of proton-exchange membrane gasoline cells (PEMFC), therefore growth of latest cathode supplies is of paramount significance. Computational design of latest catalysts can shorten the event time, however, because of the complexity of the ORR potential power panorama, atomistic-level modeling of this processes is difficult. Furthermore, the catalytic species might exhibit robust digital correlations, which can’t be rigorously and precisely described with low-cost strategies akin to Density Purposeful Idea (DFT). Correct ab-initio strategies have been historically thought-about not relevant to such programs attributable to their excessive computational value, however this quickly could also be attainable because of the speedy advances in quantum computing.

Right here, we current the primary classical/quantum computational examine of the ORR on each pure platinum and platinum-capped cobalt floor and present the applicability of quantum computing strategies to a fancy catalysis downside. We present the feasibility of such a workflow applied in InQuanto and exhibit it on the H1-1 trapped-ion quantum laptop. Most significantly, we present that ORR on Pt/Co catalyst entails strongly-correlated species that are good take a look at circumstances for future demonstration of quantum benefit.

—Di Paola et al.

Qunatinuum System Mannequin H1 refers to a era of quantum computing {hardware} utilizing ion traps with a single linear geometry. Particular person machines that use this era of ion traps are designated by the H1-X nomenclature. For instance, H1-1 and H1-2 are two separate quantum computing machines utilizing the identical ion entice design.


Quantinuum System Mannequin H2, launched in Could 2023, is its newest era of quantum laptop with a brand new racetrack-shaped entice. That includes 32 fully-connected qubits and an all-new structure, Quantinuum’s H2 gives the world’s highest quantum quantity of 65,536 (216) and the most important GHZ-state.

Circularity and sustainable mobility are placing us on a quest for brand new supplies, to create extra environment friendly merchandise and form the longer term premium person expertise. Having the ability to simulate materials properties to related chemical accuracy with the advantages from the accelerating Quantum Computing {hardware} is giving us simply the proper instruments for extra pace in innovation for this decisive area.

—Dr Peter Lehnert, Vice-President, Analysis Applied sciences at BMW Group


Contained in the chamber

BMW Group acknowledges the transformative potential of Quantum Computing and its significance in researching new supplies, the place it may allow quicker and extra environment friendly processes whereas decreasing lab prototypes. Approaching and precisely simulating one of the crucial elementary electrochemical processes for the primary time utilizing Quantum Computing marks a considerable step in direction of the sustainable power transition, benefiting metal-air batteries, and different merchandise with enhanced effectivity.

We will clearly envision the advantages of the examine in our quest for sustainable and hydrogen powered alternate options such because the ZEROe plane, which can function on gasoline cell engines. The examine confirms that Quantum Computing is maturing on the scale we’d like for aviation.

—Isabell Gradert, Vice-President, Central Analysis & Expertise at Airbus

Airbus has recognized hydrogen as a promising candidate to energy low-carbon plane, as a result of it emits no CO2 when flying, when generated from renewable power. The corporate beforehand introduced plans to start out testing a hydrogen-powered gasoline cell propulsion system onboard its ZEROe demonstrator plane within the subsequent few years. The corporate has the ambition to develop the world’s first hydrogen-powered business plane for market entry by 2035.

The analysis staff hopes that understanding the ORR response gives insights that assist them determine various supplies that will enhance the efficiency and scale back the manufacturing prices of gasoline cells. Modeling chemical reactions such because the ORR precisely is an intractable process for classical computer systems, because of the quantum properties of the chemical mechanisms concerned, making such simulations a great candidate to learn from a possible quantum benefit sooner or later.

The three corporations plan additional collaboration to discover the usage of quantum computing to handle related industrial challenges.

Quantinuum is the world’s largest standalone quantum computing firm, fashioned by the mixture of Honeywell Quantum Options’ {hardware} and Cambridge Quantum’s middleware and functions.


  • Cono Di Paola, Evgeny Plekhanov, Michal Krompiec, Chandan Kumar, Fengmin Du, Daniel Weber, Jasper Simon Krauser, Elvira Shishenina, David Muñoz Ramo (2023) “Applicability of Quantum Computing to Oxygen Discount Response Simulations” arXiv:2307.15823

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