Italian oil major Eni is collaborating with the Paris-based quantum processing specialist Pasqal to develop several next-generation applications for the energy sector encompassing renewables as well as both upstream and downstream in its value chain.
Eni operates what is believed to be one of the most powerful privately-owned supercomputers in the world at its Green Data Centre in Ferrera Erbognone.
The utilisation of Pasqal’s proprietary algorithms should enable Eni to accelerate its research and new capabilities in areas including renewable energy technologies and magnetic fusion among others.
“Our high performance computing system is a vital tool to explore the energy of the future,” says Dario Pagani, Eni’s Head of Digital & High Performance Computing.
“Pasqal’s quantum computers will allow us to complement our conventional high performance computing workflows in areas such as optimisation and machine learning and accelerate our research to create new solutions to the most pressing issues in the energy industry.”
Eni was a 2021 Series A investor in Pasqal through its venture capital vehicle Eni Next, with Pasqal using the funding to manufacture its current 100 qubit commercial quantum computer and develop its next generation systems.
Renewable energies in which Eni has developed particular expertise include concentrated solar power and wave energy. The company also is developing carbon capture and storage and hydrogen and other advanced biofuel solutions.
Hydro dam structures
EDF is collaborating with another French quantum startup Quandela to study the contribution of photonic computing to numerical simulations of hydroelectric dam deformation.
With the use of this technology, EDF anticipates increasing the accuracy of the simulations, speeding up the calculations and reducing the energy consumption of the same calculations.
In the longer term, the ambition is to generalise the simulation models to other types of industrial applications and to extend photonic calculation to machine learning used in particular in consumption forecasting.
EDF was one of the first French industrial players to invest in quantum technologies as far back as 2018 with the aim to improve computing performance for energy management.
“We put our expertise in differential equation solving and algorithm development as well as our first full-stack photonic quantum computers at EDF’s disposal. In return, we benefit from the knowledge and expertise acquired by EDF’s R&D teams for decades,” comments Valérian Giesz, co-founder and CEO of Quandela.
Stéphane Tanguy, Director of Information Systems and Technologies at EDF R&D, adds that EDF has been interested in simulation for 40 years.
“The calculations and equations developed are the result of decades of research and effort. Quandela’s know-how, complementary to ours, allows us to form a rich and solid partnership to continue to advance on these subjects.”