Practical carbon capture technologies are still in the early stages of development, and the most promising ones involve a class of compounds called amines that can bond chemically with carbon dioxide. In AVS Quantum Science, researchers publish an algorithm to study amine interactions through quantum computing. The current quantum computer booth runs the algorithm to find useful amine compounds for carbon capture more quickly, analyzing larger molecules and more complex interactions than a conventional computer can.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing daily with no sign of stopping or slowing down. So much of civilization depends on burning fossil fuels, and even if we could develop an alternative energy source, a lot of the damage has already been done. Without removing it, the carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere will continue to wreak havoc for centuries.
Atmospheric carbon capture is a potential remedy to this problem. It would take carbon dioxide out of the air and store it permanently to reverse the effects of climate change. Practical carbon capture technologies are still in the early stages of development, and the most promising ones involve a class of compounds called amines that can bond chemically with carbon dioxide. Efficiency is paramount in these designs, and selecting slightly better compounds can capture billions of tons of extra carbon dioxide.
in AVS Quantum ScienceBy AIP Publishing, researchers from the National Energy Technology Laboratory and the University of Kentucky have published an algorithm to study amine interactions through quantum computing. The algorithm could be run on an existing quantum computer to find amine compounds useful for carbon capture more quickly.
“We are not satisfied with the current amine molecules that we use for this purpose [carbon capture] Author Cheng Shao said, “We could try to find a new molecule to do this, but if we were to test it with traditional computing resources, it would be very computationally expensive. We hope to have a fast algorithm that can screen thousands of new molecules and structures.”
Any computer algorithm that simulates a chemical reaction needs to account for the interactions between each pair of atoms involved. Even a simple molecule of three atoms like carbon dioxide bonded to the simplest amine, ammonia, which has four atoms, results in hundreds of atomic reactions. This problem bothers conventional computers but it’s exactly the kind of question that quantum computers excel at.
However, quantum computers are still an evolving technology and are not powerful enough to handle these types of simulations directly. This is where the ensemble algorithm comes in: It allows current quantum computers to analyze larger particles and more complex interactions, which is vital for practical applications in areas such as carbon capture.
“We are trying to use existing quantum computing technology to solve a practical environmental problem,” said author Yuhua Duan.