French oil and gas company Total has partnered with UK-based Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) to explore quantum algorithms to improve CO2 capture.

The collaboration allows the firms to undertake research into carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and develop new quantum algorithms to improve materials for capturing CO2.

With a aim to become a major player in CCUS, Total currently invests up to 10% of its annual research and development effort in the area.

Total CTO Marie-Noëlle Semeria said: “Total is very pleased to be launching this new collaboration with Cambridge Quantum Computing: quantum computing opens up new possibilities for solving extremely complex problems.

“We are therefore among the first to use quantum computing in our research to design new materials capable of capturing CO2 more efficiently. In this way, Total intends to accelerate the development of the CCUS technologies that are essential to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.”

Total working on nanoporous materials for CO2 capture

The French firm is working on nanoporous materials called adsorbents that could be used to capture the CO2 emitted by the industrial operations or directly from the air (Direct Air Capture or DAC).

The trapped CO2 would then be concentrated and reused or stored permanently, Total noted.

The partners plan to develop quantum algorithms required to simulate the physical and chemical mechanisms in the adsorbents, s a function of their size, shape and chemical composition.

CQC CEO Ilyas Khan said: “We are very excited to be working with Total, a demonstrated thought-leader in CCUS technology. Carbon neutrality is one of the most significant topics of our time and incredibly important to the future of the planet.”

Recently, Equinor, Shell and Total have confirmed an investment decision for the Northern Lights carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the North Sea region of Norway.

The first phase of the Northern Lights project will have a capacity for 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year.