CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Feb. 11, 2022 — Quantum Protected Network, a cutting-edge cybersecurity technology developed by Qubitekk and field tested at EPB, has been named a finalist for a 2022 Edison Award. This new cybersecurity application is an extension of previous research and development by Qubitekk and EPB in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Qubitekk, based in San Diego, has also completed a SBIR Phase 2 effort for a quantum protected communication solution for the U.S. Department of Defense at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
“Qubitekk is an American-owned company that has developed a quantum-based cyber security solution using entangled photon cryptography which creates an unbreakable link that is safe today and in the future,” said Dr. Duncan Earl, President and CTO of, Qubitekk, Inc. “Qubitekk has also tested a quantum secure network link for the U.S. Air Force SCADA control system, a non-classified internet protocol router network.”
The Quantum Protected Network is a finalist for the 2022 Edison Award in the Communications and Cybersecurity category for critical human infrastructure.
The Edison Awards are an annual competition honoring the highest levels of new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design and innovation. This prestigious award recognizes and honors innovations that create a positive impact on the world.
“Qubitekk is presently the only U.S. commercial provider of quantum protected networks,” said Earl. “Qubitekk’s patented technology distributes entangled photons over optical fibers to create matched quantum generated random keys. Quantum receivers exchange secure keys in seconds without the need to maintain cumbersome public key infrastructure.”
Qubitekk, ORNL, Los Alamos and EPB have worked together for several years on the QED: Quantum Ensured Defense of the Smart Electric Grid project. Based on cutting-edge quantum science and network security, QED uses quantum communications in an effort to protect power grid control signals from third-party infiltration. EPB is the only utility in the United States that is field testing this quantum technology.
The technology harnesses single particles of light, or photons, to distribute cryptographic keys that can be used to secure control signals with secret codes to protect the electric grid. This novel method brings the security assurances of quantum communication to electric grid systems.
The partners have demonstrated the operational use of this quantum technology under real-world conditions using progressively larger dedicated fiber optic test-environments provided by EPB in Chattanooga. Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response.
“EPB is proud to partner in the development of this cutting-edge technology to enhance cybersecurity for the nation’s power grid and other critical assets,” said David Wade, President & CEO of EPB. “Having this technology recognized as a finalist for the Edison Award and winning a 2021 R&D 100 Award is a testament to the team’s work.”
The 2022 Edison Awards will showcase some of the world’s top innovation leaders and new products from around the globe. Each year the Edison Awards announce the annual finalists on February 11, the 175th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s birthday. Edison garnered 1,093 U.S. patents in his lifetime, making the inventor a household name.
The award winners will be named in April at the annual awards event in Fort Myers, Florida, home to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estate and Lab. This historic property dates back to 1885 when Edison purchased the land. In 1928, Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone partnered and built a lab on the property to study alternative sources of rubber.
For more information about the Edison Awards, visit: edisonawards.com.
Qubitekk is a leader in the development of quantum technology for computing, communications, and sensing applications. U.S. owned and headquartered in San Diego, CA, the company was first-to-market with a quantum cryptography system using quantum entangled photon sources to secure critical infrastructure networks such as electrical or other utility grids and satellite-to-satellite communications. Their quantum technology will enable the future quantum Internet, cyber-secure electrical grids, and networking of quantum computing devices.
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit energy.gov/science.
About Los Alamos
Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving programs related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.
EPB serves the people of the Chattanooga area with advanced smart city infrastructure to enable world-class energy and connectivity solutions that include the most resilient smart grid power distribution system in the United States and the fastest internet in the world. EPB gained national notice when it deployed a community-wide fiber optic network accessible to all its customers and used it to launch America’s first Gig-speed internet in 2010 (beating Google Fiber by 4 years) as well as the first 10 Gig internet service available as a standard offer to all residences and businesses in 2015.
EPB also utilized the fiber optic network as the communications backbone for deploying more than 200,000 smart switches, sensors and other devices to establish the most advanced and highly automated smart grid in the nation. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy named EPB a living laboratory for pioneering smart grid technologies. Since then, EPB has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and more than 20 other national research partners to play a critical role in more than $155 million in smart city research. EPB was also the first major power distribution utility to earn the GBCI’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid in 2015 and followed up in 2021 by re-certifying at PEER Gold.
EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit epb.com for more information.