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BP joins IBM Quantum Network to advance quantum computing in energy sector

Quantum computing could help manage the fluid dynamics of wind farms like BP's Titan 1. Image: BP.

Quantum computing could help manage the fluid dynamics of wind farms like BP's Titan 1. Image: BP.

BP has joined the IBM Quantum Network as an Industry Partner to access quantum expertise, software and cloud-based access to the most advanced quantum computers.

This includes access to a 65-qubit quantum computer, which IBM says is the largest universal quantum system available to industry today. BP will use this to explore solutions to business and engineering challenges, looking at the potential applications of quantum computing power for improving efficiencies and reducing emissions.

The partnership forms part of BP’s wider ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, announced back in February 2020. Already the company has worked to further digitise its operations to move closer to net zero, including partnering with Microsoft in September 2020.

"Next-generation computing capabilities such as quantum computing will assist in solving the science and engineering challenges we will face, enabling us to reimagine energy and design new lower carbon products," said Morag Watson, senior vice president, digital science and engineering for BP.

According to IBM, quantum computing could improve areas such as chemical modelling, analysing and managing the fluid dynamics of wind farms and optimising autonomous robotic inspection amongst others.

There are now more than 130 members in the IBM Quantum Network, including Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and research labs.

BP will join them in exploring how quantum computing can “accelerate the discovery of solutions to some of today's biggest challenges” said Dario Gil, senior vice president and director of IBM Research.

"The energy industry is ripe with opportunities to see value from the use of quantum computing through the discovery of new materials designed to improve the generation, transfer, and storage of energy."

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