CQC Partners with German Aerospace Center to Better Simulate Battery Cells

Article By : Nitin Dahad

Cambridge Quantum Computing has partnered with the German Aerospace Center to explore how quantum computing could help create better simulation models for battery development.

Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) has partnered with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luftund Raumfahrt; DLR) to explore how quantum computing could help create better simulation models for battery development to aid future energy utilization.

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

The collaboration will see DLR – the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany – use CQC’s quantum algorithms for solving partial differential equation (PDE) systems to render a 1D simulation of a lithium-ion battery cell.

This lays 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 (such as atomistic, molecular, and macroscopic) to make a simulation more manageable and realistic, potentially accelerating battery research and development for a variety of sustainable energy solutions.

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.

Established in 2014, CQC has developed expertise in quantum software, specifically a quantum development platform, enterprise applications in the area of quantum chemistry, quantum machine learning, and quantum augmented cybersecurity. A privately owned company, it has raised a total of $72.8 million to date, the most recent of which was a $45 million raise completed in December 2020 with investors including Honeywell Ventures, IBM Ventures, JSR Corporation, Serendipity Capital, Alvarium Investments, and Talipot Holdings.

The company’s quantum software development platform, tket, is an architecture agnostic quantum software stack and ‘best in class’ compiler. It translates machine independent algorithms into executable circuits, optimizing for physical qubit layout whilst reducing the number of required operations. The platform’s state-of-the-art qubit scheduling and routing protocol ensures optimal results even in the noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) era.

Cambridge, UK, is home to another quantum computer software company, Riverlane, who last year successfully trialed a universal operating system for quantum computers in the UK. Its Deltaflow operating system enables the same quantum software to run on quantum computing hardware, based on several different qubit technologies including silicon, photonics, superconducting and trapped ion qubits.

It also completed its $20 million series A funding round earlier this year to build Deltaflow. Riverlane said that over the past year, it had signed up 20% of the world’s quantum hardware manufacturers to use Deltaflow and the funding will be used to expand internationally to the U.S. and Europe. The round was led by European technology venture capital fund Draper Esprit, and supported by existing investors, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, and the University of Cambridge.

This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.

Nitin Dahad is a correspondent for EE Times, EE Times Europe and also Editor-in-Chief of embedded.com. With 35 years in the electronics industry, he’s had many different roles: from engineer to journalist, and from entrepreneur to startup mentor and government advisor. He was part of the startup team that launched 32-bit microprocessor company ARC International in the US in the late 1990s and took it public, and co-founder of The Chilli, which influenced much of the tech startup scene in the early 2000s. He’s also worked with many of the big names – including National Semiconductor, GEC Plessey Semiconductors, Dialog Semiconductor and Marconi Instruments.

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