Leading aerospace manufacturer Airbus, renowned automaker BMW, and the English quantum computing provider Quantinuum have embarked on a collaborative mobility research endeavor utilising quantum computers. The primary focus of this partnership centers on investigating the chemical reactions of catalysts within fuel cells.

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A recently released technical paper by the collaborative partners reveals their capability to accurately model the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) occurring on the surface of a platinum-based catalyst. The ORR represents a pivotal chemical process within fuel cells, wherein Hydrogen and oxygen are transformed into water and electricity, albeit with efficiency limitations. This reaction tends to be slow and necessitates a significant amount of platinum catalyst.

Given these challenges, delving deeper into the underlying mechanisms of the ORR reaction holds immense value. The research team aspires to gain insights that could potentially lead to identifying alternative materials capable of enhancing performance and curbing fuel cell production costs.

The project’s approach involves a hybrid combination of quantum technological methods and conventional workflows. The Quantum H-series quantum processor from Quantinuum takes center stage, aimed at enhancing the understanding of this critical chemical reaction. While the details of the “classic” part of the workflow remain undisclosed, the partners’ aspirations are quite evident.