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Energy Grids Target Net Zero with Quantum Optimization

Phasecraft wins $1.5M in Quantum Catalyst Competition to optimize network layout and usage

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

February 7, 2024

2 Min Read
Solar and wind generators
Energy companies are tackling increased energy demand by connecting renewable generators to the grid. Getty

Quantum algorithm company Phasecraft has won a U.K. government contract to explore using quantum computing to optimize energy grids as part of the Quantum Catalyst Fund.

Optimizing energy grids is one of the important governmental problems the Quantum Catalyst Fund aims to tackle. Maintaining a constant and consistent energy supply, including incorporating sustainable sources, means avoiding outages and re-routing energy in the case of extreme weather events is critical.

Building and maintaining grid connections is also very expensive. One way to keep costs down is to determine the optimal layout and usage of the energy network infrastructure.

Adding to the complexity, electricity demand is expected to double by 2040. One of the ways energy companies are tackling this is by connecting millions of smaller renewable generators to the grid.

However, this makes running the grid increasingly complex, to the degree that classical computing solutions struggle with taking all the factors into account. Phasecraft plans to develop quantum solutions to this problem with the Supergen Energy Networks Hub and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero as part of the contract. 

Following a Phase 1 contract for a feasibility study to explore the application of quantum computing to optimizing energy grids, Phasecraft’s contract is one of six projects taken through to Phase 2 of the competition.

Related:Train Scheduling Gets Quantum Boost

Phase 2 began on Jan. 1 with Phasecraft working with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to address optimization problems with quantum solutions.

Phasecraft specializes in developing quantum algorithms for modeling and simulation problems, such as the discovery of new materials, and optimization problems, including problems that are important in the design and use of complex energy grids.

“We’re delighted to have been awarded this new contract to develop quantum algorithms for solving hard optimization problems relevant to energy grids as part of the UK’s Quantum Catalyst Fund,” said Phasecraft co-founder and CEO Ashley Montanaro.

“The grid is coming under increasing pressure as part of the move to Net Zero, and handling this complexity and improving resilience against vulnerabilities is a significant computational challenge. Quantum computing has the potential to solve important problems in a number of sectors, not least the public sector, and we’re glad that the U.K. government shares this belief.” 

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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