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Quantum leaps towards smarter chemical manufacturing

Researchers and students as well as new and well-established companies come to DTU’s Pilot Plant to test whether their ideas can be scaled up and become commercially viable. Photos: Jørgen True

DTU (Technical University of Denmark) is collaborating with Zapata Computing, an American AI company, to leverage quantum-inspired algorithms in the chemical manufacturing process. The partnership aims to accelerate and reduce the cost of bringing new chemicals to the market while generating insights that can be applied to other product manufacturing processes.

Scaling up an idea from the laboratory to commercial production is often time-consuming and expensive. Even if a process works well on a small experimental scale, it usually requires extensive and costly experiments to optimize it for large-scale production.

The complexity of process systems, similar to the human body, requires an understanding of how different scales interact and influence each other. Associate Professor Seyed Soheil Mansouri from DTU explains the need to explore the interactions between molecular, atomic, and enterprise-wide scales within the biomanufacturing industry.

DTU's pilot plant serves as a platform for transforming ideas involving chemical and biological processes into commercial reality. Users leverage modeling techniques to identify problem areas and focus testing efforts on those specific areas, avoiding unnecessary experimentation. The collaboration with Zapata Computing aims to further enhance the modeling process by utilizing quantum-inspired algorithms to narrow down the search space and optimize the chemical manufacturing process.

By combining DTU's expertise in chemical and biological processes with Zapata's advanced computational calculations, the partners aim to develop more advanced algorithms capable of addressing complex problems. The goal is to enable cheaper and faster idea implementation while reducing the reliance on brute force experimentation.

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