Here is the first in my series of eight breakthroughs that bp.com predicts will be significant in the energy world. As year’s end, I will bring you all eight.
Here bp.com explains to readers: None of us has a crystal ball to see what the future will look like. What we can be sure of though is that the world is changing rapidly and our lives will be very different by 2050. From mobility to healthcare, communications to education, as Bill Gates has put it: “Innovation is moving at a scarily fast pace.”
Individuals and industries alike will need to adapt to these new developments, to make the most of opportunities. As BP launches its first Technology Outlook, group chief executive Bob Dudley says: “In the corporate world, history tells us that companies that fail to anticipate or adapt to new technologies fail to survive. On the other hand, companies with leading technologies are often the most competitive and successful.”
Emerging technologies present business risks and opportunities for any industry. The energy sector is no exception. Although radical innovation and disruption in this industry are relatively infrequent, transformational change can take place – often within relatively short timeframes and with dramatic consequences.
So, what are some of the future trends and innovations that may make an impact on the world of energy? BP’s emerging technology manager, Dan Walker, highlights eight breakthroughs that might be significant. This is what the future may look like…
Quantum leap: beyond silicon computing
The next leap in computing technology looks set to be based on quantum mechanics – the science of atomic structure and function. Quantum computing uses the ‘qubit’, or quantum bit, which can hold an infinite number of values.
Exponential increases in the power and speed of computers – along with decreasing costs – are already having a significant impact on the energy business, and beyond. As the complexity of technology has evolved, we’ve turned to intricate algorithms to process, model and analyse data.
Quantum technologies have the potential to process huge data sets at faster rates than today’s silicon-based, digital computers can. They use electrons, or even polarized light, that can be interlinked to perform many operations at once.