Corp/Quantum Business Europe’s 2021 Quantum Computing Europe

BCG Quantum Computing in the energy transition. QLMtec’s camera detects fugitive emissions for Total. Institut NEEL – QC to reduce world digital footprint. Muquans’ quantum gravity meters to make GPS redundant.

Jean Francois Bobier from Boston Consulting Group believes that some of the first and most important applications for quantum computing (QC) will be in the energy transition and emissions reduction. Bobier noted that, seven years later, the world is far behind the objectives of the Paris accord and the planet is reaching a tipping point in atmospheric CO2 which will dramatically transform society. Recent research suggests that QC can contribute to energy efficiencies, with new chemicals and material design, making things stronger and lighter. ‘NP-hard’ problems such as the travelling salesman, of importance to supply chain logistics, that currently would take millions of years to compute, will be solvable with a QC. Simulating new fertilizers or catalysts would take hundreds of thousands of years on a classical computer could run in under 24 hours on a QC. Bobier cited work by BASF and HQS Quantum Simulations* and by Google. When is this going to happen? Bobier has it that we will be living with noisy NISQ computing for 10 years. Then, with more q-bits, the field will open up to more apps for cement manufacture, energy production and storage and logistics/transformation. More in a similar vein from BCG.

* Accuracy and Resource Estimations for Quantum Chemistry on a Near-term Quantum Computer.

Doug Millington-Smith showed how QLMtec’s Quantum Gas Camera is used to detect fugitive methane emissions. QLM’s high-sensitivity gas detection and imaging system targets natural gas producers, distributors and service providers with ‘fast, accurate and low-cost gas leak identification’. The camera uses a LIDAR scanner to bounce a laser off solid objects. A SPAD (single photon avalanche detector) a.k.a. a ‘Geiger counter for light’ takes millions of measurements per second. The laser can be tuned to detect different gasses. A GUI shows methane release as a heat map atop plant imagery. QLMtec has received a grant from The Splice Project and has support from BP and the UK National Grid inter alia. QLMtec has worked for Total at its TADI accident prevention testbed at Lacq, France facility on various blind gas release tests. Detailed results are under NDA but QLM was ‘the only system that made the cut for return trials’. Read QLM’s March 2021 paper on the SPIE Digital Library.

Alexia Auffeves (CNRS/Institut NEEL) presented on the possibility of reducing the world’s digital footprint with quantum computers. In addition to holding the potential to solve some of the world’s most computationally challenging problems, quantum computers use significantly less energy, which could lead to lower costs and decreased digital carbon footprint as adoption grows.

Philippe Bouyer (LP2N/CNRS) gave an extremely bullish presentation of Muquans’ quantum gravity meters for, inter alia, earth exploration. This is claimed to be the first commercial quantum gravimeter promising inertial positioning ‘so accurate that the world could do away with GPS!’ Muquans’ Jean Lautier-Gaud explained how the ‘cold atom’ gravity meter produces absolute measurement of gravity. The ‘free fall’ gravity meter exploits superposition of quantum states to provide continuous measurements over years, without any moving parts. The system has been deployed on Mount Etna to monitor aquifer charge/discharge for natural hazard mitigation.


Olivier Ezratty (BCG) has made available a free, 684-page e-book ‘Comprendre l'informatique quantique’ on quantum technology (in French).

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