Sector News

The next big thing? Quantum computing’s potential impact on chemicals

November 29, 2019
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Over the past several years, quantum computing has been the subject of a lot of hype. Work underway in the field at tech giants such as IBM and Google has been extensively reported, and this interest has been mirrored by investments in the quantum-computing field by players from a broad array of industries, including the chemical industry.

We have been following these developments, and our assessment is that quantum computing could potentially be a game changer for chemical companies.

The chemical industry has been a relatively late adopter of the successive waves of digital innovation and practices moving across business and society. To date, such a stance has not put it at a disadvantage and may in fact have helped it avoid mistakes made by early movers. The chemical industry was a latecomer to enterprise resource planning, but companies did not suffer as the productivity gains from it benefitted all players rather than give any one of them a competitive advantage. The e-commerce wave of the early 2000s proved to be, in effect, largely irrelevant to the industry. Clearly, the implementation of artificial intelligence–based approaches will help the industry to increase productivity significantly across its operations and business activities, but the jury is still out on whether AI will have an impact on the industry beyond that.

Quantum computing, however, may be in a different league. That is because its capabilities could make it possible to significantly improve our understanding of systems governed by quantum mechanics, such as molecular structure and chemical reactions and processes—all at the core of the business of the chemical industry. Players that are able to harness the potential of quantum computing could make better products at lower cost in less time. In this article, we explain what underpins this thesis and how chemical companies should position themselves.

> Read the full article on the McKinsey website

By Florian Budde and Daniel Volz

Source: McKinsey

comments closed

Related News

February 25, 2024

Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal: industry leaders call for 10 urgent actions to restore competitiveness and keep good jobs in Europe

Energy & Chemical Value Chain

During a European Industry Summit held on the site of BASF in Antwerp, leaders from basic industry sectors, representing 7.8 million workers in Europe, joined forces with European trade unions and European leaders to address pressing concerns regarding Europe’s industrial landscape.

February 25, 2024

Blue hydrogen could contribute 50% more to global warming than fossil fuels

Energy & Chemical Value Chain

The use of blue or low-carbon hydrogen, made from natural gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS), could increase near-term global warming by 50% compared with burning fossil fuels directly for energy if emissions are not properly managed, according to a new study by NGO the US Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the University of Arizona.

February 25, 2024

EU approves €6.9 Billion state aid for 33 hydrogen projects

Energy & Chemical Value Chain

In a move to improve the supply of renewable hydrogen and thus reduce dependence on natural gas and contribute to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU plan, the EU Commission has approved a third Important project of common European interest (IPCEI) to support hydrogen infrastructure.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach