bp Tests AI Tools for Designing New Molecules and Materials

Energy Leader Taps Kebotix for Advancements through AI

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kebotix, a technology platform company for new chemicals and materials, is revolutionizing how R&D is created at scale with reduced time and cost while simultaneously increasing success rates, especially of high-risk, high-reward programs. The breakthrough company provides digital R&D solutions to accelerate innovation in the chemical and material industry across numerous markets – leveraging their expertise in chemistry as well as recent advances in artificial intelligence and automation.

Kebotix is helping bp to understand how to leverage AI to push the company to the forefront of chemistry and materials. Partnering with Kebotix, bp explored how AI and other advanced digital technologies can shorten the design process within various areas of the company, thereby saving time and resources.

Design and synthesis can be a lengthy and iterative process in laboratories. Tapping into Kebotix’s expertise for this collaboration, bp demonstrated that AI can potentially shorten the design process.

“This has helped bp to gain insight into the benefits of AI which could impact how we transform our businesses – it allows us to focus our resources in the most promising areas,” said Morag Watson, bp’s senior vice president of digital science and engineering.

Partnering on proof of concepts with other innovative companies that speak a similar technical language has many advantages. Since the application area for this project was deeply rooted in chemistry, bp sought a company working on the cutting edge of applying AI techniques in the chemistry field, and Kebotix fit the bill, common vernacular and all.

“Kebotix uses a data-driven approach and leverages the ability of AI to learn chemical intuition,” said Dr. Christoph Kreisbeck, Kebotix chief commercial officer. “To this end, Kebotix reviews millions of reactions and uses deep learning to suggest additional plausible reaction routes. While traditional expert rule-based software for synthesis planning can only recover what is already known in the literature, the Kebotix AI algorithms are able to generate additional reactions that enable the discovery of new chemistry.”

Kebotix’s AI “thinks” like an organic chemist yet with the combined knowledge of all known chemistry in the patent literature while taking a giant leap into the unknown. For the partnership with bp, Kebotix applied this and other capabilities to a relevant chemical serving as a precursor for various applications. The Kebotix AI identified diverse options to synthesize the chemical using specific renewable starting materials. The more options the AI produces the higher are the chances for process chemists to be successful in scale-up for cost and resource-efficient production.

A Promising Future

The initial collaboration with Kebotix has been deemed a success by bp. Over the course of the project, which ran from August 2019 to May 2020, the bp team learned how to leverage AI in the design phase and foresee how this tool can significantly aid in brainstorming paths to materials of interest, enabling scientists to explore a broader range of chemistries and test ideas in a shorter amount of time.

“Digital and expanding how we think about leveraging technology differently is a key part of achieving bp’s ambitions,” Watson said.

Speaking on Kebotix’s commitment to social responsibility, company CEO and founder Dr. Jill S. Becker said, “Kebotix is dedicated to developing transformative technologies that will facilitate important first steps toward tackling some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.”

Kreisbeck agreed, citing that using machine learning to ingest large amounts of information is extremely valuable. “Understanding the strengths and limitations of ML and AI techniques allows bp’s scientists to best leverage the tools with how they currently work,” he said.

About Kebotix

Kebotix partners with the private and public sector in harnessing the power of its breakthrough platform that combines artificial intelligence and robotic automation to discover chemicals and materials significantly faster and more affordably. Kebotix is backed by a growing, talented and dedicated team led by world-class scientists and serial entrepreneurs – plus the world’s first self-driving lab for materials discovery – to develop AI/machine learning roadmaps and define problems and solution properties for its partners, and solve the world’s most urgent problems for everyone else. Kebotix provides its partners technology access to its digital R&D solutions – including ChemOSTM – and complete end-to-end materials innovation programs to stay ahead of competition in the digital revolution. For more information, visit www.kebotix.com.

About bp

bp’s purpose is to reimagine energy for people and our planet. It has set out an ambition to be a net ‎zero company by 2050, or sooner, and help the world get to net zero, and recently announced its ‎strategy for delivering on that ambition. For more information visit www.bp.com.

Contacts

Connie Zheng

PR for Kebotix

415-886-7218

connie@czcomms.com

bp press office, London

+44 (0) 207 496 4076

bppress@bp.com