Researchers from the National Energy Technology Laboratory and the University of Kentucky have designed an advanced quantum computing algorithm capable of pinpointing the most effective compounds to capture carbon dioxide.
Commonly used carbon capture technology utilises an amine solvent to eliminate CO2 from flue gas. To further improve the efficiency of this process, the researchers created a quantum computing algorithm to measure the ability of amine-based solvents to absorb carbon dioxide.
“We’re not satisfied with the current amine molecules that we use for this process,” commented Qing Shao, one of the study’s authors.
“We can try to find a new molecule to do it, but if we want to test it using classical computing resources, it will be a very expensive calculation. Our hope is to have a fast algorithm that can screen thousands of new molecules and structures.”
Due to the need to analyse the interactions between each atom in a chemical reaction, the simulation of a simple three-atom CO2 molecule and the four-atom ammonia involves hundreds of atomic interactions. Therefore, a quantum computer was used.
Quantum computers are still in their early stages of development so researchers created an algorithm which can function within the present-day limitations of quantum computers.