Quantum Information Science (QIS) is expected to profoundly change the practice of science and engineering in the coming decades. QIS technology exploits quantum phenomena for performing tasks that are impossible to do today, such as finding prime factors of large numbers or elucidating reaction mechanisms in complex chemical systems. It is a rapidly progressing field, fueled by large investments from the private sector and governments. Its importance to the U.S. economy and national security is underscored by the National Quantum Initiative Act passed in December 2018, which creates a coordinated multiagency program to support research and training in QIS.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has launched an initiative in Quantum Information Science & Technology (QIST) for applying QIS to problems encountered in fossil energy technology development. Potential areas of application include subsurface engineering; sensors and detectors; power plant, electrical grid, and oil and gas pipeline cybersecurity; materials development; power plant design and optimization; and power plant operation and control. Activities to date include the following:
QUEST Technical Working Group. Established a workforce capable of developing, reviewing, managing, and advising on QIS-related technologies for NETL and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (DOE-FE). Group members, along with their supervisors, will develop a training strategy to establish enough competency for proposing, executing, and managing research projects within a one- to three-year timeline.
Quantum Sensing Project. Started a seed project to pursue selected near-term research and development (R&D) opportunities for quantum sensing to impact the fossil energy mission:
Leverage quantum squeezed and entangled photons for optimizing performance of distributed interrogation methodologies for the optical fiber sensor platform.